More than 600,000 Rohingya have crossed over into Bangladesh since August 25, when a group of Rohingya militants attacked Burmese security officials at approximately 30 locations throughout northern Rakhine State, killing at least 12 officials. The militants are members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army and claimed it was an effort to protect their people from persecution.
According to the United Nations, the response of Burma’s security forces was disproportionately severe, and reportedly included shelling of civilians, arson and widespread extrajudicial killings.
The rapid influx of Rohingya into Bangladesh has strained the country's resources. To address this urgent need, the United States has provided nearly 40 million dollars in humanitarian aid for refugees, host communities, and persons internally displaced in Rakhine State. This brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for displaced persons in Burma and refugees from Burma in the region, to nearly 104 million dollars in fiscal year 2017.
In particular, U.S. assistance is flowing to its international organization partners on the ground, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Children’s Fund, the International Organization for Migration, and the World Food Program, which help provide protection, emergency shelter, food and nutritional assistance, as well as health care and psychosocial support for the more than half a million displaced Burmese in Burma, Bangladesh, and the region.
The U.S. applauds Bangladesh’s generosity in responding to this severe humanitarian crisis and appreciates its continued efforts to ensure assistance reaches people in need.
The U.S. calls for an immediate end of the violence in northern Rakhine State, and for the Burmese government to allow refugees to return home voluntarily, safely, and with dignity. The U.S. welcomes Burma’s commitment to bringing long-term peace and stability to Rakhine State by implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
The United States calls on the Burmese government to allow for unhindered humanitarian access to people in Rakhine State in order to meet pressing humanitarian needs. The U.S. also urges other donors to join in providing additional humanitarian assistance for those in need.