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Pope joins Myanmar bishops’ appeal for humanitarian corridors


By Reuters Staff, published by Channel NewsAsia

Vatican City – Pope Francis today (Jun 20) appealed to Myanmar’s military leaders to allow aid to reach displaced, hungry people who have fled fighting since the Feb 1 coup and to respect religious sites as places of sanctuary.

Speaking at his Sunday blessing to crowds in St Peter’s Square, Francis said he wanted to “add my voice” to an appeal last week by Myanmar’s Catholic bishops.

The pope, who has made many appeals for the release of political prisoners in Myanmar, spoke of the “heartbreaking experience of thousands of people in that country who are displaced and are dying of hunger”.

He backed the bishops’ appeal to authorities to allow humanitarian corridors in order to get aid to displaced people and to respect churches, pagodas, monasteries, mosques, temples, schools and hospitals as neutral places of refuge.

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect November election results and release political detainees, including detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

However Myanmar’s Foreign Ministry rejected the UN General Assembly resolution calling for an arms embargo on Saturday, AP said.

Myanmar described the resolution, which is not legally binding, as being “based on one-sided sweeping allegations and false assumptions”. The statement issued in the capital Naypyidaw said the Foreign Ministry had sent letters of objection to the UN secretary-general and the General Assembly’s president.

Top: Pope Francis leaves after Holy Mass for the community of the faithful of Myanmar resident in Rome at the Vatican on May 16, 2021. File photo: Reuters/Remo Casilli, Pool and published by CNA

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