DHAKA – Pope Francis arrived on Thursday for a three-day official visit of Bangladesh, in a trip marked by the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis.
The pope arrived at Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka at 3 pm, where he was received by Bangladeshi President Abdul Hamid.
This is the second time a pontiff has made the trip to Bangladesh since independence in 1971, after Juan Paul II’s visit in 1986.
Francis arrived in Dhaka from neighboring Myanmar, where on Thursday morning he delivered a mass to thousands of the country’s youth.
During his address at Yangon’s St. Mary’s Cathedral, he urged the country to reconcile its sectarian differences, to protect its minorities and defend human rights, without explicitly referring to the persecution of the Rohingya minority.
As part of his Bangladesh visit, the pontiff will hold an interfaith meeting where he is expected to meet with a group of Rohingya refugees, part of the at least 620,000 people who have fled violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since an outbreak of violence the end of August.