Pope holds emotional meeting with Rohingya refugees in Myanmar

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 03:59 GMT, Dec 2, 2017 |

Pope Francis had an emotional meeting with Muslim refugees from Myanmar in Bangladesh on Friday (December 1) and used the word Rohingya to describe them for the first time on his Asian trip, calling for them to be respected.

The encounter took place at an inter-religious peace meeting on his first full day in Bangladesh, to where 625,000 Rohingya from Myanmar’s Rakhine state have fled from an army crackdown.

Refugees have said scores of Rohingya villages have been burnt to the ground, people killed and women raped. Myanmar’s military has denied accusations of “ethnic cleansing” by the United States and United Nations.

The pope looked sombre as each member of the group, which included 12 men and four women, including two young girls, told him their stories through interpreters. Francis looked pained as he listened.