Published: Sun, December 03, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Pope Francis uses term Rohingya in Bangladesh meeting

Pope Francis uses term Rohingya in Bangladesh meeting

The Pope told a group of 16 refugees at an interfaith meeting in the capital Dhaka: "The presence of God today is also called Rohingya".

"It is imperative that the global community take decisive measures to address this grave crisis, not only by working to resolve the political issues that have led to the mass displacement of people, but also by offering immediate material assistance to Bangladesh in its effort to respond effectively to urgent human needs".

The 16 Rohingya - 12 men, two women and two young girls - travelled to Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, from Cox's Bazar, the district bordering Burma where refugee camps are overflowing with more than 620,000 Rohingya who have fled what the United Nations says is a campaign of ethnic cleansing by Burmese troops.

According to the United Nations, the total Rohingya refugee population in the area is now over 834,000.

Myanmar's government and most of the Buddhist majority recoil from the term "Rohingya, ' saying the members of the Muslim minority are 'Bengalis" who migrated illegally from Bangladesh.

Washington:Pope Francis called for "decisive" global action on the Rohingya refugee crisis as he began a visit to Bangladesh, where more than 620,000 of the Muslim minority have sought sanctuary after fleeing violence in Myanmar.

On Wednesday, Myanmar Bishop John Hsane Hgyi suggested that reports of atrocities being committed against the Rohingya were not "reliable" or "authoritative", and that those who criticized Myanmar's response to a complex situation should "go into the field to study the reality and history" to obtain "true news".

"People don't expect him to solve impossible problems", Burke said, per CNN.

In calls for peace in the country, he did not use the word Rohingya to describe the refugees, which is contested by the Rangoon government and military.

Rohingya Muslims have faced persecution and discrimination in Burma for decades and are denied citizenship, even though many families have lived there for generations.

A violent crackdown on Rohingya insurgents in Myanmar's Rakhine state by Myanmar's military, security forces and local vigilantes has forced thousands to flee.

"Our people welcomed them with open arms, sharing food, shelter and other basic needs", he said.

However, while in Burma, which is also called Myanmar, the pope declined to use the word "Rohingya". "Now, it is our shared responsibility to ensure for them a safe, sustainable and dignified return to their own home and integration with the social, economic and political life of Myanmar". His 3-year-old son was killed by the Myanmar military.

The Rohingya crisis loomed large over Francis' arrival in Dhaka, where banners with pictures of the pope and Hamid dotted billboards around town. Police said they were looking for the man but would not confirm if it was a kidnapping.

Asked about the pope's avoidance of the term "Rohingya", U Aye Lwin said he thought the pope had just dropped it to avoid controversy.

Pope Francis will leave for Rome at 5:05 pm on Saturday after an official farewell at Dhaka airport.

Information for this article was contributed by Julhas Alam and Nick Perry of The Associated Press.

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