RELIGION

Protest in Myanmar targets US Embassy use of term 'Rohingya'

  • Members of a Buddhist nationalist group shout slogans during a protest outside U.S. Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar against the embassy's April 20, 2016 statement with the word "Rohingya" Thursday, April 28, 2016. Myanmar nationalist believe long-persecuted and stateless Muslim minority in western Rakhine state who self identify themselves as "Rohingya" as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis." About 400 protesters, including Buddhist monks, marched in front of the embassy and held a protest rally. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    Members of a Buddhist nationalist group shout slogans during a protest outside U.S. Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar against the embassy's April 20, 2016 statement with the word "Rohingya" Thursday, April 28, 2016. Myanmar nationalist believe long-persecuted and stateless Muslim minority in western Rakhine state who self identify themselves as "Rohingya" as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis." About 400 protesters, including Buddhist monks, marched in front of the embassy and held a protest rally. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • A nationalist Buddhist monk displays a placard during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar against the embassy's April 20 statement with the word "Rohingya" Thursday, April 28, 2016. Myanmar nationalist believe long-persecuted and stateless Muslim minority in western Rakhine state who self identify themselves as "Rohingya" as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis." About 400 protesters, including Buddhist monks, marched in front of the embassy and held a protest rally. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    A nationalist Buddhist monk displays a placard during a protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar against the embassy's April 20 statement with the word "Rohingya" Thursday, April 28, 2016. Myanmar nationalist believe long-persecuted and stateless Muslim minority in western Rakhine state who self identify themselves as "Rohingya" as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis." About 400 protesters, including Buddhist monks, marched in front of the embassy and held a protest rally. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

  • Members of a Buddhist nationalist group, including Buddhist monks, protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar against the embassy's April 20, 2016 statement with the word "Rohingya" Thursday, April 28, 2016. Myanmar nationalist believe long-persecuted and stateless Muslim minority in western Rakhine state who self identify themselves as "Rohingya" as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis." About 400 protesters, including Buddhist monks, marched in front of the embassy and held a protest rally. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

    Members of a Buddhist nationalist group, including Buddhist monks, protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Yangon, Myanmar against the embassy's April 20, 2016 statement with the word "Rohingya" Thursday, April 28, 2016. Myanmar nationalist believe long-persecuted and stateless Muslim minority in western Rakhine state who self identify themselves as "Rohingya" as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh and refer to them as "Bengalis." About 400 protesters, including Buddhist monks, marched in front of the embassy and held a protest rally. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  (The Associated Press)

Buddhist monks have joined several hundred protesters outside the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar to demand it stop using the term "Rohingya" to refer to a Muslim ethnic minority group.

The protesters insisted the group be called "Bengali" and be regarded as illegal migrants from Bangladesh. The families of many members of the minority have lived in Myanmar for generations.

Myanmar does not officially recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group, and denies most of them citizenship and basic rights. Conflict over land in the western state of Rakhine, where most of the estimated 1 million Rohingya live, caused violence between Buddhists and Muslims which later spread to other parts of the country.

The U.S. Embassy used the term "Rohingya" this month in a statement of concern about their situation.