ICC Note: The desperate situation of the Rohingya refugees who are seeking to escape persecution in Myanmar is the direct result of Myanmar’s government policy of persecution of ethnic and/or religious minorities. We applaud the government of the Philippines for being willing to assist in this humanitarian crisis in the region.
By Lucinda Borkett-Jones
05/20/2015 Philippines (Christian Today)
The Philippines has said it is willing to welcome 3,000 ethnic Rohingya refugees fleeing persecution in Myanmar and Bangladesh, which the Catholic Church has attributed to a sense of Christian duty.
Last week more than 2,500 refugees from the Rohingya Muslim minority in Bangladesh and Myanmar landed on the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand but were pushed back out to sea. There are thought to be another 5,000 still missing. Having fled persecution and poverty at home, they now face sickness and starvation at sea.
Father Socrates Mesiona, director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in the Philippines, welcomed his government’s decision to provide assistance.
“It is our duty to welcome these people,” Mesiona told Fides news agency. “If necessary, we will welcome them and will try to ensure them a decent life. They are human beings and children of God, created in the image and likeness of God.”
He said the fact that they are Muslim “does not create any problem,” adding “As the Gospel teaches us, we are ready to give them hospitality.”