Dhaka, Bangladesh
Pope Francis due Nov 30

Pope Francis due Nov 30

He decries Rohingya persecution

Pope Francis arrives here on a three-day state visit on November 30 carrying a message of 'harmony and peace' for all, reports UNB. "Detailed programme for the visit will be published shortly," Dean of Diplomatic Corps Ambassador of Vatican to Bangladesh Archbishop George Kocherry told a press conference on Monday afternoon. The crucial visit, at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Catholic Archbishop of Dhaka Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario, was officially announced in Dhaka and Vatican simultaneously. Ambassador Kocherry said two invitations, including one from the host government, need for Pope to visit a country. President Abdul Hamid will receive Pope Francis upon his arrival and Bangladesh will show the highest respect to him during the visit. The Dean of Diplomatic Corps in Dhaka made the announcement saying timings and venues of the Pope's engagements in Dhaka will be shared later. Pope Francis will have meetings President Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina among other engagements, including his participation in a youths gathering. He will make an 'apostolic visit' to Myanmar from November 27 to 30 before coming to Dhaka. In Myanmar, he will visit the cities of Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw. Ambassador Kocherry said the Vatican Embassy in Dhaka, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the SSF are working together to finalise his programmes in Dhaka. "The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and SSF are cooperating very well with us. I appreciate their readiness and supports." Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario said 80-year-old Pope Francis is coming to all people of the country. "We seek overall cooperation from all." He said Pope Francis is a voice of conscience for all political, economic, social and environmental issues in the world. "He (Pope Francis) leads a very simple life. His love towards marginalized people, those who are suffering, who are weak, who are affected by disasters, migrants," said Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario. On November 26, 1970 the then sixth Pope was the first person who touched the land of Bangla during an hour-long stopover here on his way to Manila. Pope John Paul II visited Bangladesh in 1986. "We've selected harmony and peace as theme of Pope Francis's Bangladesh visit this time," said Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario. As per the draft programmes, Pope Francis will place wreaths at the National Martyrs Memorial in Savar and will pay respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman placing wreaths at his portrait. "We believe the visit will remain as an example of harmony and peace in Bangladesh," Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario said. Meanwhile, Foreign Ministry officials said Pope Francis will give an audience to Bangladesh's Christian community. An advanced team recently visited Bangladesh to coordinate the preparation of the 'apostolic visit' with the Protocol Wing of the Ministry. Pope Francis appointed Patrick D'Rozario, the Archbishop of Bangladesh, as the first-ever cardinal from Bangladesh on November 19, 2016. Meanwhile, Pope Francis who decried persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar is following the situation of Rohingyas in Myanmar and expressed his sorrows over the plights of these people. "Pope Francis is following the situation (of Rohingyas)...at different times he has mentioned about Rohingyas and their difficulties. He also expressed his upsets over the plights of Rohingyas yesterday (Sunday)," said Dean of Diplomatic Corps Ambassador of Vatican to Bangladesh Archbishop George Kocherry here on Monday. Kocherry said Francis will visit Bangladesh and Myanmar in November this year. As per the announcement made simultaneously in Dhaka and Vatican, Francis will arrive in Dhaka on a three-day state visit on November 30. Pope will visit cities of Yangon and Naypyitaw on November 27-30. It will be the first trip by a pope to Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist. Pope John Paul II in 1986 visited Bangladesh. Commenting on the Rohingya situation, Catholic Archbishop of Dhaka Cardinal Patrick D'Rozario said they (Rohingyas) are human beings and they should have their own home which is the demand of humanity. He said Rohingyas are like their brothers and sisters. The pontiff said on Sunday there was "sad news about the persecution of the religious minority of our Rohingya brothers," reports the Associated Press (AP). Thousands of Rohingya are trying to flee into Bangladesh after escalated deadly violence at home. Last week, Rohingya militants attacked police and border outposts, and security forces responded. Francis asked the faithful in St. Peter's Square to pray that God 'saves them' and they receive help. Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has blasted the Rohingya militant attacks as a bid to undermine efforts to 'build peace and harmony in Rakhine state'.

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