The Pope Must Say the Name of the “Rohingya People” and Insist on Justice for Them

Statement from Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service (AJWS), on Pope Francis’s Visit to Myanmar (Burma):

“We are Jews who believe deeply in the dignity and human rights of every person and who have long admired you, Your Holiness, for your life-long commitment to the most vulnerable people on our planet. We have also supported ethnic minorities in Burma, including the Rohingya, in their quest to live in peace and dignity. Today, we call on you to follow your strong moral instincts and God’s clear commandment to love our neighbors as we love ourselves by clearly saying the name of the Rohingya publicly in Myanmar (Burma). Your Holiness, please insist that Burma’s civil and military leaders immediately stop the mass violence and the destruction of the Rohingya people, including the burning of villages, mass rape of women, and murder of civilian men, women and children.

As you have taught, silence has no place in our moral vocabulary, and we beseech you to use your powerful authority and that of the Holy See to speak out today, so we may achieve justice for the Rohingya people immediately. Together, we can deliver on the promise that we are all created by the same God and are all deserving of infinite respect and dignity. We look forward to your visit to Burma and urge you to employ your power to lift up people of every faith and background, including the Rohingya people, who are no less deserving than others and whose deep suffering is morally unacceptable and must come to an immediate end.”


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About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS defends civil and political rights, advances sexual health and rights, promotes land rights and climate justice and aids communities in the aftermath of disasters. We pursue lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and by advocating for U.S. and international policies for justice and equality worldwide. Learn more at

About American Jewish World Service’s work in Burma

For more than 15 years, AJWS has supported the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, including the Rohingya people. AJWS provides direct financial support to more than 30 human rights organizations in Burma that have been working to advance the rights of minority ethnic groups and to create a truly pluralistic and democratic society. Please read more about our work in Burma here.

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