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New U.S. Assistance for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis

Mohammed Akter, 8, collects drinking water in a jerrycan from a tube-well at the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 25, 2021.
New U.S. Assistance for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis
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The United States will provide an additional nearly $155 million in new humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs of Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh, as well as people affected by ongoing violence in Burma’s Rakhine, Kachin, Shan, and Chin States.

There are nearly 900,000 refugees in Bangladesh who fled terrible violence in Burma’s Rakhine State over the past several years. 472,000 Bangladeshis in host communities have also been affected. And violence in Burma has increased since the military coup overthrew the democratically elected government in February 2021.

The United States is the leading contributor of humanitarian assistance in response to the crisis. In announcing the additional aid, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that with this new funding, “our total humanitarian aid for those affected by the crisis in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region since the brutal violence by the Burmese military in August 2017 is more than $1.3 billion, including more than $1.1 billion for programs inside Bangladesh.”

He noted with appreciation the contribution of other UN member states to the humanitarian response and urged others in the international community to step up their assistance.

Secretary Blinken took note of the cost and responsibility that countries, especially Bangladesh, have assumed in responding to the plight of Rohingya refugees, and he pledged support for countries in the region that prioritize their protection.

“In the aftermath of the February 1 military coup and the brutal military crackdown in Burma,” he added, “we remain committed to addressing the Rohingya crisis, recognizing that the coup leaders are many of the same individuals responsible for previous human rights abuses, including atrocities against Rohingya. We continue to work with international partners to support justice and accountability for all those responsible for the coup and human rights abuses.”

The United States, he said, continues to advocate for the rights of Rohingya and urges that they be included in discussions about their future. Secretary Blinken also called on Bangladesh to take steps to protect the refugees and not allow conditions to prevail “that would force them to return to a country where they could face persecution and violence.”

“The United States,” Secretary Blinken declared, “is committed to promoting peace, security and respect for the human rights and human dignity of all people in Burma, including Rohingya.”