September 28, 2021

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U.S. Announces Humanitarian Assistance at the International Conference on Sustaining Support for the Rohingya Refugee Response

18 min read

Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State

Today, the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) conducted a virtual conference on Sustaining International Support for the Rohingya Refugee Response. The United States announced nearly $200 million in additional humanitarian assistance provided in Fiscal Year 2020 for Rohingya refugees, host communities in Bangladesh and other countries in the region, and internally displaced Rohingya and other crisis-affected communities in Burma, including those who fled ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State.

The United States remains the most generous financial donor to the Rohingya crisis response, and acknowledges the efforts of Bangladesh to host these refugees.  Our total humanitarian assistance since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2020 totals more than $437 million, including nearly $46 million to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Of that total, nearly $349 million is for programs inside Bangladesh, including nearly $34 million to support response to COVID-19, and nearly $85 million is for the response inside Burma, including nearly $11 million to support COVID-19 response.  With this new funding, our total humanitarian assistance for this crisis response is nearly $1.2 billion in the region since the outbreak of violence in August 2017.

Humanitarian organization partners  are enhancing response coordination at the national and local level across all sectors, including:  food; shelter; communication, including emergency telecommunications; disaster preparedness and risk reduction; education and livelihood opportunities; health; logistics; protection, including addressing gender-based violence and child protection; site management and development; and water, sanitation, and hygiene.  We will continue to ensure that our assistance focuses on programs that we know work, like the lifesaving efforts of the UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Program (WFP), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and numerous non-governmental organizations that have proven track records of success.

The United States stands with the UK, the EU, and UNHCR in expressing appreciation for the many donors that announced contributions today.  We continue to call on others to contribute to the Rohingya crisis response – both long standing partners and new and aspiring donors. The UN has appealed for more than $1 billion in aid to meet the humanitarian needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh this year.

The United States is working with its partners to stop the cycle of violence in Rakhine State, including by cooperating to end the trafficking of weapons and narcotics that have contributed to instability for so long.  In particular, P5 members of the UN Security Council have a special obligation to contribute to ending violence and aiding the victims of violence.  The United States recognizes the significant contributions of other regional partners and encourages continued responsiveness to the needs of Rohingya refugees.  Together, we strive to develop a multifaceted approach to  resolve this humanitarian crisis in line with international humanitarian principles.

As a part of the United States’ global leadership in humanitarian diplomacy, we continue to call on Burma to provide unhindered and sustained humanitarian access to anyone requiring assistance.  The United States will continue to advocate for a sustainable solution  that creates the conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and other displaced persons to their places of origin or to a place of their choosing.  More broadly, we continue to partner with the people of Burma, including members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, in their efforts to work toward peace and prosperity.

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