Statement by Acting Administrator John Barsa
For Immediate Release
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Office of Press Relations\ Today, the United States announced nearly $200 million in additional humanitarian assistance provided in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 for Rohingya refugees and host communities in the People's Republic of Bangladesh and other countries in the region, as well as for internally displaced Rohingya and other crisis-affected communities in Burma, including those who fled ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State since August 2017.
The additional U.S. humanitarian funding announced today will enable our partners-- including the World Food Programme, the International Organization for Migration, the United Nations (UN) Children's Fund, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and numerous non-governmental organizations -- to continue their tireless work in Bangladesh and Burma. These partners are providing life-saving food assistance, treatment for malnutrition, health care, safe drinking water, improved sanitation and hygiene, shelter, emergency telecommunications, activities to reduce the risk of disaster, income-earning opportunities, and protection programs---including psychosocial support and case-management for people who have experienced violence or abuse.
Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun announced the additional funding at the international donor conference on Sustaining Support for the Rohingya Refugee Response, co-hosted by the United States, the United Kingdom (UK), the European Union (EU), and UNHCR.
During the conference, I was proud to speak on behalf of the U.S. Agency for International Development to reiterate that the American people remain committed to meeting the needs of vulnerable Rohingya and the communities that generously host them across the region. I also noted USAID's commitment to relief-to-development coherence and to continue development investments that strengthen Bangladesh's resilience and Journey to Self-Reliance.
The dignity of the human person underpins our humanitarian efforts, and is at the core of integral human development. It is mainly for this reason - an unwavering commitment to human life and dignity - that the United States remains the single most generous donor to the Rohingya crisis response.
Our total humanitarian assistance since the beginning of FY 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 the response to COVID-19. Nearly $85 million is for programs inside Burma, including nearly $11 million to support efforts to contain COVID-19. With this new funding, our total humanitarian assistance for this crisis in the region is nearly $1.2 billion since the outbreak of violence in August 2017.
But as the world heard today, a significant humanitarian funding gap in Bangladesh and Burma remains, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. We are proud to stand with the UK, the EU, and UNHCR to call others to contribute to the response to the Rohingya crisis-- both long-standing partners, as well as new and aspiring donors.
As a part of the United States' global leadership in humanitarian diplomacy globally, we continue to demand that the Government and military of Burma provide unhindered and sustained humanitarian access to all people who require assistance. We advocate for a sustainable solution to the crisis that creates the conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees and other displaced people to their places of origin, or to a place of their choosing, based on the principles of non-discrimination, non-segregation, and equality. More broadly, we continue to support the people of Burma, including members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, in their efforts to work toward peace and prosperity.