Pope Francis arrives in Bangladesh; to meet Rohingya refugees

Pope Francis arrives at the airport in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka on November 30, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2017

Pope Francis arrives in Bangladesh; to meet Rohingya refugees

DHAKA: Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid received Pope Francis on Thursday following the latter’s visit to Myanmar.

“Pope Francis’ visit to Myanmar and Bangladesh gave rise to great expectations from the international community, especially among the forcibly displaced people from Myanmar who came to Bangladesh and identify themselves as Rohingya,” said Anup Kumar Chakma, a former Bangladeshi ambassador to Myanmar.

But the pope’s visit to Dhaka is clouded by the fact that during his visit to Myanmar, he did not refer to the ongoing Rohingya crisis, use the term “Rohingya” or condemn operations carried out against the community in Rakhine state that led to their mass exodus into Bangladesh.

“It reflects how effectively Myanmar has been dealing with this issue diplomatically,” said Chakma.

The pope’s visit to Bangladesh is significant in that it may give momentum to the implementation of a repatriation accord recently signed by Bangladesh and Myanmar.

“This visit will draw more international attention and maintain pressure on the Myanmar government to ensure the sustainable repatriation of refugees,” said Dr. Delwar Hossain, a professor of international relations at Dhaka University.

The pope is scheduled to meet a group of Rohingya on Friday in Dhaka. “It has indirect value and impact on world leaders,” said Hossain.

But former Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary Shomsher Mobin Chowdhury told Arab News: “I don’t think Pope Francis will play any diplomatic role in devising a solution to the Rohingya crisis. We’ve signed a bilateral memorandum of understanding with Myanmar, and we should concentrate on moving forward with this diplomatic approach.”

The pope concluded his first of three days in Bangladesh at a dinner hosted by the president, where he met politicians, diplomats and civil society leaders.

UK PM May calls US images of of migrant children ‘deeply disturbing’

Updated 56 min 42 sec ago

UK PM May calls US images of of migrant children ‘deeply disturbing’

  • "This is wrong,” Prime Minster Theresa May told MPs
  • May said she would raise the issue with Trump next month

LONDON: British Prime Minster Theresa May on Wednesday said images from the United States of migrant children being held in cages were “deeply disturbing” and that she would press President Donald Trump on the issue.
“On what we have seen in the United States, pictures of children being held in what appear to be cages are deeply disturbing... this is wrong,” she told MPs.
May said she would raise the issue with Trump when the pair meet in Britain next month.
“When we disagree with the United States we tell them so,” she told MPs.
“But we also have some key shared interests with the United States in the security and defense field and on other areas as well.
“And it is right that we are able to sit down and discuss those with the president.”
Trump told Republican lawmakers Tuesday he backed their efforts to craft an immigration solution that ends the politically toxic practice of separating illegal migrant families on the US-Mexico border.