During his weekly General Audience in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall this morning, Francis asked those present to join him in prayers for “our Rohingya brothers and sisters” who “are being chased” from Myanmar and are fleeing from one place to another “because no one wants them.”
“They are good people,” Francis highlighted, saying, “They are not Christians, they are peaceful people.”
He lamented that these are our brothers and sisters who, for years, have been suffering, being tortured and killed, just for upholding their Muslim faith.
Francis went on to ask the some 7,000 present in the Hall to join him in saying an ‘Our Father,’ for all exploited and humiliated migrants, and in a special way, for the Rohingyas.
Various humanitarian organizations have urged Myanmar’s government to support an independent international investigation into alleged abuses by securiuty forces against members of the Muslim Rohingya ethnic minority, including killings, the razing of homes and the reported systematic use of sexual violence.
In Buddhist-majority Myanmar, also known as Burma, the estimated 1 million Rohingya face official and social discrimination, reports Vatican Radio. Most do not have citizenship and are regarded as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, even when their families have lived in the country for generations. In 2012, violence forced many to flee their homes, and more than 100,000 still live in squalid refugee camps.