Pope begins Myanmar trip in shadow of Rohingya crisis

People gather outside the the residence of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, where Pope Francis will be staying during his visit in Yangon. Photo: Reuters
People gather outside the the residence of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon, where Pope Francis will be staying during his visit in Yangon. Photo: Reuters

Pope Francis landed in Yangon on Monday (local time), the start of a delicate visit for the world's most prominent Christian to majority-Buddhist Myanmar, which the United States has accused of "ethnic cleansing" its Muslim Rohingya people.

The pope will also visit Bangladesh, to where more than 620,000 Rohingya have fled from what Amnesty International has dubbed "crimes against humanity" by Myanmar security forces, including murder, rape, torture and forcible displacement.

The Myanmar army denies the accusations.

Only about 700,000 of Myanmar's 51 million people are Roman Catholic. Thousands of them have travelled by train and bus to Yangon, the country's main city, to catch a glimpse of the pope

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