Pope Francis has met a group of Muslim Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and referred to them by name for the first time on his Asian visit.
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.”
He refrained from using the term on his earlier visit to Myanmar, which does not regard Rohingya as an ethnic group.
Some 620,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar since August.
The Pope had been criticised by rights groups for not using the term in Myanmar, whose military has been accused of ethnic cleansing by the United Nations. He had used the term before his visit.
Myanmar’s government rejects the term Rohingya, labelling the community “Bengalis”. It says they migrated illegally from Bangladesh so should not be listed as one of the country’s ethnic groups.
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