It’s been five years since Burma’s military launched its genocidal campaign against Rohingya. The number of Rohingya refugees who fled into neighboring Bangladesh tells the story. Since 2017, 750,000 people have sought haven from the violence, bringing the number of Rohingya refugees currently living in camps in Bangladesh to approximately one million.
The United States recognizes the generosity of the Bangladesh government and people for hosting these refugees with support from international donors and humanitarian actors. The United States remains the leading donor of humanitarian assistance to those whose lives have been upended by the violence in Burma’s Rakhine State.
The U.S. provided more than $1.9 billion over the past five years to affected populations in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region for Rohingya and their host communities. The United States also remains committed to pursuing justice for victims and accountability for the Burma military’s heinous crimes against Rohingya and to advancing long-term solutions for Rohingya refugees, including their voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return to Burma when conditions allow. At present, conditions in Burma are not safe for refugees to return home.
Yet the situation for displaced Rohingya remains dire. Despite Bangladesh’s generosity, safety and overcrowding in the camps are issues; as is lack of employment, freedom of movement, and access to basic services.
As part of the United States’ unwavering partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and support for displaced Rohingya, last month Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the establishment of a resettlement program for vulnerable Rohingya refugees in collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“This program, which will be part of the global U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, is one element of a broader comprehensive response to the Rohingya refugee crisis with the main focus on preparing the Rohingya for voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return. The United States will consider for resettlement referrals submitted by the UNHCR,” Secretary Blinken said in a statement.
“The resettlement of most vulnerable Rohingya from Bangladesh reflects the United States’ long-standing leadership on refugee resettlement in the face of an unprecedented displacement crisis, as record numbers of people around the world have been forced to flee war, persecution, and instability,” Secretary Blinken added. “We thank the Government of Bangladesh as a generous host of refugees and for their support of this important resettlement initiative.”