Pope Francis has urged the leaders of Myanmar to commit themselves to justice, human rights and respect for "each ethnic group and its identity".

After a Buddhist monk group warned that there would be "a response" if he spoke publicly about the Rohingya, the Pope did not refer directly to the situation in his address.

The Pope's advisors also recommended that he not use the term ‘Rohingya' during his visit, fearing that it would prompt a diplomatic incident, and result in the persecution of Christian minorities. Myanmar rejects the term and instead refers to the Rohingya people as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

However, some have criticised the the Pope, including Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division. He said, “Rohingya have been stripped of so many things but their name should never be one of them.”

The Pope has previously used the term in his two appeals to the Vatican this year.

Pope Francis' speech clearly alluded to the plight of the 620,000 people who have had to flee their homes to Bangladesh.

"The future of Myanmar must be peace, a peace based on respect for the dignity and rights of each member of society, respect for each ethnic group and its identity, respect for the rule of law, and respect for a democratic order that enables each individual and every group — none excluded — to offer its legitimate contribution to the common good," he said.

The arduous process of peace building and national reconciliation can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights.

The Pope said that after 50 years of military rule, Myanmar needed to heal the wounds of the past.

He called for "just, reconciled and inclusive social order", adding that "the arduous process of peace building and national reconciliation can only advance through a commitment to justice and respect for human rights".

Referring to the country's communal tensions, Pope Francis said religious differences "need not be a source of division and distrust, but rather a force for unity, forgiveness, tolerance and wise nation-building".

He will be visiting the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh on Thursday.