DHAKA, August 25, 2023 – Today marks six years since the Burma military’s brutal campaign of violence, rape, and murder against Rohingya men, women, and children. The regime’s genocidal actions forced three-quarters of a million Rohingya to flee with the few belongings they could carry. The people of Bangladesh welcomed them with open arms, compassion, and a sense of shared humanity. We commend the people of Bangladesh for their generosity and hospitality in continuing to host nearly one million refugees.
In response, the international community rallied to support Bangladesh in its efforts. The American people have contributed more than $2.1 billion since 2017 in response to the humanitarian crisis that unfolded across the region, including more than $1.7 billion in Bangladesh to support Rohingya refugees and the local communities that so generously host them, and we remain steadfast in our support.
Rohingya who continue to find refuge in Bangladesh and other countries in the region have suffered too long. They deserve an opportunity to return to their homes in safety and dignity, raise their families in peace, and live meaningful and purposeful lives. To that end, the United States remains committed to finding solutions to the crisis, justice for its victims, and accountability for the perpetrators of these atrocities, through targeted sanctions, international pressure, and support to the national and international courts taking action against those responsible.
Until conditions in Burma improve, we call upon the international community to continue providing humanitarian aid to one of the world’s most vulnerable and marginalized populations. We must continue to support the Government of Bangladesh and the Bangladeshi communities hosting Rohingya. As other crises around the world compete for limited resources, it is also increasingly important to identify ways Rohingya can contribute to the economic well-being of their host communities and their own families. This includes facilitating the pursuit of income-generating activities and formal education, ensuring Rohingya communities are safe, and by giving Rohingya a greater role in their own futures through participation in Rohingya civil society organizations. We look forward to exchanging best practices, ideas, and resources in helping identify durable solutions for Rohingya refugees.
Recognizing that Rohingya cannot safely return to their homeland of Burma under current conditions, resettlement is another important way in which we demonstrate responsibility sharing and contribute to comprehensive solutions for the plight of Rohingya. We applaud the generosity of other countries who are joining this international resettlement effort, and we hope the international community – beyond traditional resettlement countries – joins this important effort. Since 2009, the United States has warmly welcomed nearly 13,000 Rohingya from the region, including Bangladesh.
As this crisis enters its seventh year, it is of utmost importance that we persist in exploring all possible options to alleviate or end the suffering of Rohingya refugees throughout the region.