Authorities in Buddhist-majority Myanmar do not recognise the Muslim Rohingya as citizens or as members of a distinct ethnic group with their own identity.
'There's no problem if he talks about Islam, but it's unacceptable if he speaks about Rohingya and extreme terrorists.'The Rohingya exodus from Rakhine state to Bangladesh's southern tip began at the end of August, when Rohingya militants attacked security posts and the Myanmar army launched a counter-offensive. Myanmar's government has denied most of the accusations made against it, and the army says its own investigation found no evidence of wrongdoing by troops.
But rights organisations have accused troops backed by Buddhist mobs of burning hundreds of villages and forcing more than half a million people to flee.
Afterwards, the military chief's office wrote on Facebook: 'Myanmar has no religious discrimination at all. (it) performs for the peace and stability of the country.' The Tatmadaw, as his army is known, has been accused by the UN and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson of conducting a campaign of 'ethnic cleansing' by driving 620,000 Rohingya from western Myanmar into Bangladesh since August.
Myanmar denies any wrongdoing despite testimony by refugees pointing to a widespread campaign of rape, murder and arson.
While the employment of child boxers in neighboring Thailand’s Muay Thai industry has come under some scrutiny in recent years, the practice goes on, relatively unchecked, in Myanmar.
It’s only on You Tube, where clips show tiny children thrashing bony arms and legs, that commenters pour scorn on organizers.The pope has already used the word Rohingya in two appeals from the Vatican this year.Asked if he would say it in Myanmar, Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said Francis was taking the advice he had been given seriously, but added: 'We will find out together during the trip ... A hardline Buddhist monk group previously known as Ma Ba Tha said it welcomed the pope's visit but warned, without elaborating, of 'a response' if he spoke openly about the Rohingya.'I hope he doesn't touch on sensitive issues that Myanmar people couldn't accept,' said Tawparka, a spokesman for the influential group, who goes by a single name. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week called the military operation 'ethnic cleansing' and threatened targeted sanctions for 'horrendous atrocities'.Myanmar's army chief has told the Pope his country has 'no religious discrimination' - days after the US accused the nation of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority.Pope Francis met for talks with Min Aung Hlaing after arriving in Myanmar on Monday amid the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis.It happens once in hundreds of years,' said Win Min Set, a community leader who brought a group of 1,800 Catholics from southern and western states of the country.'He is very knowledgeable when it comes to political affairs.