Title Title
Avoiding the word "Rohingya" is a common diplomatic concession  Avoiding the word 'Rohingya' is a common diplomatic concession
Summary Summary
Pope Francis is the latest to face the dilemma of acknowledging the Rohingya as a distinct people  Pope Francis is just the latest to face the dilemma of acknowledging the Rohingya as a distinct people
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Content Content
<strong>When Pope Francis visited Myanmar this week, he did not do what he <a href="http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/08/27/pope_francis_appeal_for_end_to_violence_against_rohingya/1333091">has done in the past</a></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>: use the word “Rohingya” when condemning the military’s campaign in Rakhine State.</strong> </span> <strong>When Pope Francis visited Myanmar this week, he did not do what he <a href="http://en.radiovaticana.va/news/2017/08/27/pope_francis_appeal_for_end_to_violence_against_rohingya/1333091">has done in the past</a></strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>: use the word “Rohingya” when condemning the military’s campaign in Rakhine State.</strong> </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">The pope </span><a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-11-29/pope-preaches-forgiveness-in-first-public-mass-in-myanmar"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has been criticized</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for not using the word, which avoided conflict with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military who refuse to use the word and view the Muslim minority as illegal immigrants.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span>  <span style="font-weight: 400;">The pope </span><a href="https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-11-29/pope-preaches-forgiveness-in-first-public-mass-in-myanmar"><span style="font-weight: 400;">has been criticized</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> for not using the word, which avoided conflict with Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the military, who refuse to use the word and view the Muslim minority as illegal immigrants.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span>
The pope found himself in the same dilemma as many humanitarian groups: By merely recognizing the existence of the persecuted ethnic group, one risks alienating the Myanmar government at a time when their cooperation is critical. The pope found himself in the same dilemma as many humanitarian groups: By merely recognizing the existence of the persecuted ethnic group, one risks alienating the Myanmar government at a time when their cooperation is critical.
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recognized the semantic issue in a </span><a href="http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbzhd/t1511957.shtml"><span style="font-weight: 400;">written statement</span></a>:<span style="font-weight: 400;"> “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The problem of "Rohingya" has a long history and includes complex factors such as history, ethnicity and religion.” </span>  <span style="font-weight: 400;">Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recognized the semantic issue in a </span><a href="http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbzhd/t1511957.shtml"><span style="font-weight: 400;">written statement recently</span></a>:<span style="font-weight: 400;"> “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The problem of "Rohingya" has a long history and includes complex factors such as history, ethnicity and religion.” </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Wang is <a href="http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbzhd/t1512004.shtml">attempting to get Myanmar</a> to accept and protect the Rohingya refugees that fled.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Wang is <a href="http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbzhd/t1512004.shtml">attempting to get Myanmar</a> to accept and protect the Rohingya refugees that fled.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">Before the mass exodus of 600,000 in August, </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-migrants/around-25000-rohingya-left-myanmar-camps-in-past-year-u-n-idUSKCN0WN16W"><span style="font-weight: 400;">roughly 145,000 Rohingya</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">were isolated in refugee camps in northern Rakhine State. Humanitarian organizations avoided the word to retain access to Rohingya communities in need of aid. In these camps, the Rohingya were </span><a href="http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51460#.Wh73T7Q-fVo"><span style="font-weight: 400;">prevented from leaving</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and only a handful of organizations were permitted into these <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/21/burma-aid-blocked-rakhine-state">blocked compounds</a>.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Before the mass exodus of 600,000 in August, </span><a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-migrants/around-25000-rohingya-left-myanmar-camps-in-past-year-u-n-idUSKCN0WN16W"><span style="font-weight: 400;">roughly 145,000 Rohingya</span></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">were isolated in refugee camps in northern Rakhine State. Humanitarian organizations avoided the word to retain access to Rohingya communities in need of aid. In these camps, the Rohingya were </span><a href="http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=51460#.Wh73T7Q-fVo"><span style="font-weight: 400;">prevented from leaving</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and only a handful of organizations were permitted into these <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2016/10/21/burma-aid-blocked-rakhine-state">blocked compounds</a>.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span>
Aid groups recognize the sensitivity of the issue and avoid the provocation that could result from one word, said <span style="font-weight: 400;">Matthew Smith, co-founder of the advocacy group <a href="http://www.fortifyrights.org/">Fortify Rights.</a> He discussed the issue with <em>WikiTribune</em> by email.</span> Aid groups recognize the sensitivity of the issue and avoid the provocation that could result from one word, said <span style="font-weight: 400;">Matthew Smith, co-founder of the advocacy group <a href="http://www.fortifyrights.org/">Fortify Rights.</a> He discussed the issue with <em>WikiTribune</em> by email.</span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">"The Rohingya are a conversation stopper with Myanmar authorities," he wrote. "Over the years a number of aid groups, including UN agencies, privately used the term "Bengali" in reference to Rohingya while speaking with the authorities. </span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">"The Rohingya are a conversation stopper with Myanmar authorities," he wrote. "Over the years a number of aid groups, including UN agencies, privately used the term "Bengali" in reference to Rohingya while speaking with the authorities. </span>
<span style="font-weight: 400;">"We don't condone that but we understand the difficult environment in which aid groups are working."</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">"We don't condone that but we understand the difficult environment in which aid groups are working."</span>
Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, the Rohingya are not recognized as a native people of Myanmar, but illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which is why the government commonly refers to them as Bengali. (<a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2017/10/19/asia/analysis-why-rohingya-are-worlds-most-persecuted-minority/3736/">Read More</a> on Rohingya's immigration status) Under the 1982 Citizenship Law, the Rohingya are not recognized as a native people of Myanmar, but illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, which is why the government commonly refers to them as Bengali. (<a href="https://www.wikitribune.com/story/2017/10/19/asia/analysis-why-rohingya-are-worlds-most-persecuted-minority/3736/">Read More</a> on Rohingya's immigration status)
<a href="https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/29/pope-francis-disappoints-rohingya-by-failing-to-condemn-persecution"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>The Guardian</em> reports</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that bishops in Myanmar, who represent more than <a href="http://The Catholic Church in Burma is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. There are around 450,000 Catholics in Burma - approximately 1% of the total population. The country is divided into sixteen dioceses including three archdioceses. Each of the archdioceses is also a metropolitan.">450,000 Catholics</a>, requested that Pope Francis avoid the word. </span> <a href="https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/29/pope-francis-disappoints-rohingya-by-failing-to-condemn-persecution"><span style="font-weight: 400;"><em>The Guardian</em> reports</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that bishops in Myanmar, who represent more than <a href="http://The Catholic Church in Burma is part of the worldwide Catholic Church, under the spiritual leadership of the Pope in Rome. There are around 450,000 Catholics in Burma - approximately 1% of the total population. The country is divided into sixteen dioceses including three archdioceses. Each of the archdioceses is also a metropolitan.">450,000 Catholics</a>, requested that Pope Francis avoid the word. </span>
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