In Bangladesh, however, the Rohingya have had little relief, since they are not recognized as refugees in the country. Since October, many who fled to Bangladesh have been detained and forced to return to the neighboring Rakhine state.
Pope Francis first brought up the plight of the Rohingya people during an audience in 2015 with more than 1,500 members of the International Eucharistic Youth Movement.
"Let's think of those brothers of ours of the Rohingya," he said. "They were chased from one country and from another and from another. When they arrived at a port or a beach, they gave them a bit of water or a bit to eat and were there chased out to the sea."
This, he told the youth, "is called killing. It's true. If I have a conflict with you and I kill you, its war."
He brought them up again a month later in an interview with a Portuguese radio station, and he has consistently spoken out on behalf of the Rohingya in Angelus addresses, daily Masses or general audiences.
Most recently, in his Feb. 8 general audience the Pope asked pilgrims to pray with him "for our brother and sister Rohingya. They were driven out of Myanmar, they go from one place to another and no one wants them."
"They are good people, peaceful people, they aren't Christians, but they are good. They are our brothers and sisters. And they have suffered for years," he said, noting that often members of the ethnic minority have been "tortured and killed" simply for carrying forward their traditions and Muslim faith.
He then led pilgrims in praying an "Our Father" for the Rohingya, asking afterward St. Josephine Bakhita, herself a former salve, to intercede.
So while the official establishment of diplomatic relations is a major step in terms of strengthening relations between the Holy See and Myanmar, there are murky waters that still need to be tread.