Today, the United States, led by Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun, co-hosted a virtual Rohingya Refugee Donor Conference along with the United Kingdom, the European Union, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). U.S. Agency for International Development Acting Administrator John Barsa joined the Deputy Secretary in hosting the event. Deputy Secretary Biegun and Acting Administrator Barsa highlighted the need to sustain international support for the humanitarian response, address root causes of the Rohingya crisis, and expand opportunities and the freedom for Rohingya to live their lives with dignity. Importantly, the international conference served to drive investment in host communities and build resiliency to help mitigate the pressures of hosting large populations of refugees, such as the more than 860,000 UNHCR-registered Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
In his remarks, Deputy Secretary Biegun announced nearly $200 million in additional humanitarian assistance that the U.S. government provided at the Fiscal Year 2020. He recognized the many partners who came together to meet the needs of the Rohingya and called on others to join in to close the funding gap. The United States continues its leadership as the largest single donor in support of Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh and the region as well as for internally displaced Rohingya and other communities in Burma affected by violence. Deputy Secretary Biegun joined co-hosts in reiterating calls for the Government of Burma to create the necessary conditions for the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya to their places of origin or of their own choice in Burma. Finally, the Deputy Secretary underscored the importance of upholding international humanitarian principles and law and cautioned against unsustainable unilateral solutions that could put Rohingya and others in danger. Acting Administrator Barsa emphasized the U.S. commitment to coordinating humanitarian relief and development assistance to respond to the Rohingya crisis and strengthening Bangladesh’s resilience.