Dhaka, July 14, 2023 – Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya and a delegation of senior U.S. government officials from the Department of State, including Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of South and Central Asia Donald Lu, traveled to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar July 11-14 to meet with senior government officials, civil society members, Rohingya refugees, and representatives from humanitarian organizations.
While in Bangladesh, Under Secretary Zeya had warm and productive meetings with the Honorable Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Law Minister Anisul Huq, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, Foreign Secretary Masud bin Momen, and other senior officials from the Government of Bangladesh. She also met with labor activists, civil society leaders, and human rights defenders. During these meetings, Under Secretary Zeya emphasized the importance of working together to achieve Bangladesh’s goal of free and fair elections; the crucial role of civil society, human rights defenders, journalists, and labor activists; accountability for human rights abuses; and the need to continue support for Rohingya refugees. She also visited Rohingya refugees, humanitarian partners, and Bangladesh senior government officials in Cox’s Bazar. Under Secretary Zeya announced more than $74 million in additional U.S. humanitarian assistance to support Burma and Bangladesh response efforts, including nearly $61 million to support Rohingya internally displaced in Burma, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, and their host communities. This brings total assistance to more than $2.1 billion since 2017 to help Rohingya and host communities.
Under Secretary Zeya also announced a $1 million grant from the State Department to the Freedom Fund and its partners. This program will provide reintegration services to more than 500 children who have been exploited by human traffickers. The United States is dedicated to partnering with the government and civil society to address the scourge of human trafficking.
“Bangladesh is a vital partner in our goal to ensure a more free and open Indo-Pacific. Our partnership is anchored by shared democratic principles and respect for human rights,” Under Secretary Zeya stated.