Desk report, December 01: Pope Francis on Friday used the word “Rohingya” for the first time during his current trip to Asia to refer to refugees who have fled in large numbers from violence in Myanmar, reports Reuters.“The presence of God today is also called Rohingya,” he said in an improvised remark after meeting 16 refugees brought to the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka from their camps in Cox’s Bazar near the border with Myanmar.
More than 625,000 Rohingya Muslims have run away to Bangladesh since late August following a crackdown by the Myanmar military in response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya militants. Most Rohingya are stateless and seen as illegal immigrants by Buddhist majority Myanmar.
On the first leg of his current trip, in Myanmar, he did not use the word Rohingya to describe the refugees. The term “Rohingya” is disputed by the Yangon government and military.