Asalamu alaikum. My name is Julieta Valls Noyes, and I am the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State. This week, I had the opportunity to meet with Bangladeshi officials, other Bangladeshis, Rohingya refugees, and humanitarian partners to understand the effects of the violence in Burma on the lives of Bangladeshis and Rohingya.
During my visit, our delegation observed refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char, where we pledged to continue our support, alongside many other countries, NGOs, and international organizations, to Rohingya refugees and the affected Bangladeshi communities.
The United States takes its partnership with Bangladesh seriously in supporting the Rohingya refugees. Since 2017, the American people have provided more than $1.9 billion in humanitarian assistance to affected populations in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region, for Rohingya and their host communities.
As Human Rights Day approaches, I am reminded that the five-year crisis Rohingya refugees have endured has impacted their basic freedoms. We have placed strong sanctions on Burma to encourage changes in behavior that will stop the violence and allow Rohingya to return to their homeland. We also support efforts to hold the perpetrators of the genocide against Rohingya accountable and to ensure justice for the victims.
As part of our unwavering partnership with the Government of Bangladesh and our comprehensive response to Rohingya refugees, the U.S. government is very pleased to establish, in coordination with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other resettlement countries, a resettlement program for the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees.
The United States commends the people of Bangladesh for generously welcoming refugees into their communities and for recognizing what is also clear to us— it is not yet safe for refugees to return home. We stand with Bangladesh in responding to the needs of refugees and the Bangladeshis who host them because all people deserve to live in safety and with dignity. Dhonnobad.