The United States welcomes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding, or MOU, by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UN Development Program, and the Burmese government to support the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Burma.
“This is a positive step,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert. “We see this MOU as a confidence-building measure that, if effectively implemented, could allow much-needed humanitarian assistance to reach all affected communities and assist Burma in creating the necessary conditions for voluntary return and to support recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in Rakhine State.”
Since last August, over 700,000 Rohingya people have fled violence in Burma's Rakhine State and crossed the border into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, a District that already was hosting more than 200,000 Rohingya refugees. In addition, 8.3 million people in Burma live in areas affected by conflict, not only in Rakhine State, but throughout the country. This conflict, and the ensuing displacement of people, has created one of the world's largest humanitarian crises.
As the world’s largest humanitarian donor, the United has contributed nearly $204 million to the Rakhine crisis response since the outbreak of violence in August 2017. The total U.S. humanitarian assistance for displaced people in and from Burma comes to more than $299 million since the beginning of fiscal year 2017.
The United States encourages the Burmese government to fulfill its commitment to work with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Development Program, and implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.