Pope Advised Not to Use Term Rohingya in Myanmar

Pope Advised Not to Use Term Rohingya in MyanmarPope Advised Not to Use Term Rohingya in Myanmar

Leading figures in the Catholic Church and international politics have advised Pope Francis not to use the term Rohingya during a trip to Myanmar due to political sensitivities but human rights groups want him to uphold international law on self-identity.

In the run-up to the his Nov. 27-Dec. 2 trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh, several high-profile figures including former UN secretary general Kofi Annan and Myanmar Cardinal Charles Maung Bo have indicated he should not use the term Rohingya, Reuters reported. The pope, a less predictable figure than his predecessor who has overruled advisors in the past, has used the term Rohingya before. The Vatican, which does not make comments on papal speeches ahead of trips, would not say if Francis might heed the advice and use a term like “Muslims in Rakhine State”. Roman Catholics make up a tiny minority in Myanmar.

Francis, a strong defender of human rights and migrants, has spoken earlier this year of “the persecution of our Rohingya brothers and sisters” and has defended their right to “live their culture and Muslim faith”.

This month Annan met the pope along with three other members of “The Elders” group of veteran statesmen and women and later hinted strongly that he believed the pope should not say Rohingya.


Add new comment

Read our comment policy before posting your viewpoints