The true origins of Myanmar’s Rohingya

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The furious debate over when the ethnic group first arrived in Rakhine state will not easily be resolved

The recent visit of Pope Francis to Myanmar provoked a storm of controversy over his decision to avoid using the term “Rohingya”, with some accusing the pontiff of unwittingly emboldening ultra-nationalist forces who refuse to accept the term.

Hosne Ara, 4, a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar two-months ago listens to children singing at a children's centre in the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo SEARCH "POY GLOBAL" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Hosne Ara, 4, a Rohingya refugee who fled Myanmar two-months ago listens to children singing at a children’s centre in the Kutupalong refugee camp near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 5, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo SEARCH “POY GLOBAL” FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH “REUTERS POY” FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Others defended the pope’s blatant omission of the word as sound diplomacy at a delicate juncture.

The highest authority of the Catholic Church eventually used the word “Rohingya” during his visit to Bangladesh, where over 600,0…

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