Pope deliberately avoids using the term 'Rohingya' in key Myanmar speech

Before his speech, Pope Francis met Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi

News Desk November 28, 2017
Pope Francis with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. PHOTO: AFP

In a keynote speech delivered after meeting Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, Pope Francis has said that the people in the region "continue to suffer from civil conflict and hostilities", but stopped short of referring specifically to the Rohingya people.

Ahead of the visit to Myanmar, rights groups all over the world had urged the Pope to use the term 'Rohingya' in order to back the Muslim community facing severe persecution at the hands of government authorities.

Pope to meet Myanmar's leader Suu Kyi

However, the catholic church in the country had advised against doing so, telling the Pope that using the term could cause difficulties for Catholics living in Myanmar.

Myanmar has been accused of ethnic cleansing, with 620,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh since August.

Pope Francis is on the second day of a four-day visit to Myanmar, and met the country's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi before delivering his speech.

Pope heads into Rohingya diplomatic minefield

In an earlier 40-minute meeting in Yangon with leaders of the Buddhist, Islamic, Hindu, Jewish and Christian faiths, the Pope stressed that each religion had "its riches and traditions".

However, Vatican officials who gave a briefing on the meeting made no mention of any reference to the Rohingya.

This article originally appeared on BBC News


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