Pope thanks Bangladesh for helping 'Rakhine people'

Does not name them as Rohingya

(ANSA) - Dhaka, November 30 - Pope Francis on Thursday thanked Bangladesh for helping "the refugees who flooded in from the (Myanmar) State of Rakhine", avoiding using the word Rohingya again. In his first speech on a trip here, in the presidential palace, the pope hailed Bangladesh's "humanitarian generosity" in welcoming some 620,000 refugees. He said it had been done "with no little sacrifice" and was "in the eyes of the whole world". Francis said "it is necessary for the international community to implement effective measures on this grave crisis" both for political solutions and material assistance. Myanmar objects to the word Rohingya because the Muslim group is not one of the country's many official minorities, and the pope avoided using the term during his three-day visit to Myanmar earlier this week, on the advice of the local Catholic Church.
    In previous speeches, however, he has used the word. The Rohingya refugees have told tales of brutality and rape by Myanmar Buddhists and the military.
    Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid, for his part, praised Francis's "very praiseworthy position" in favour of persecuted Rohingya" who have taken refuge there from Myanmar "and his impassioned voice against such brutality". Saying his government had given refuge to "a million Rohingya driven out of Myanmar", he said the pope's support "gives hope for a solution to this crisis". Hamid said "his closeness to them, his request to help them and ensure their full rights gives the international community the responsibility to act with speed and sincerity". Most estimates put the number of Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh at 620,000.