An official website of the United States government

Ambassador Andrew Bremberg
March 4, 2020



Statement by Ambassador Andrew Bremberg
Launch of the 2020 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis

Geneva, March 3, 2020

The United States is proud to be the leading donor to the humanitarian response to the Rakhine State crisis in Burma and Bangladesh in 2017, 2018, and 2019.  The United States has already provided more than $760 million since the August 2017 escalation of violence that prompted over 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.  With this new funding, our total humanitarian assistance reaches nearly $820 million since 2017.  Of this funding, nearly $700 million is for programs inside Bangladesh.

This funding allows our partners, which include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Food Program (WFP), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), among others, to continue providing life-saving assistance to over 900,000 Rohingya refugees who have taken refuge in Bangladesh, 740,000 of whom arrived since 2017, as well as Bangladeshi host communities.

Total U.S. humanitarian assistance for this crisis saves lives and provides support in all sectors of the response:  education; emergency telecommunications; food security; health; nutrition; protection; shelter and non-food items; and water, sanitation, and hygiene.

The United States is contributing to a pilot program by UN agencies and their partners that will provide education to 10,000 Rohingya children using the Burmese national curriculum.  This funding also includes programs to reduce vulnerability to natural disasters and bolster access to education and livelihoods for Rohingya in Bangladesh and the generous Bangladeshi communities that are hosting them.  This will be key to preparing Rohingya for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable repatriation when conditions in Burma are conducive to such returns.

We commend the many countries that have provided support to this response.  More assistance is required to meet the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable in Bangladesh.  Given the tremendous funding needs for this crisis, we urge donors, including new donors and those who are considering or have pledged funding, but have not yet contributed toward this humanitarian response, to come forward now with their financial contributions.

The United States commends the Government of Bangladesh’s generosity in responding to this humanitarian crisis and appreciates its continued efforts to ensure assistance reaches the affected populations.  The U.S. government is fully committed to ensuring that humanitarian and development assistance continues to support the Cox’s Bazar communities who are generously hosting Rohingya refugees.

We are pleased that the 2020 JRP includes a more explicit policy focus on their challenges, including specific objectives to foster the well-being of communities in Cox’s Bazar; support the development of sustainable management frameworks for water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure; invest substantially in primary and secondary health care facilities; support sustainable livelihoods for Bangladeshi people; rehabilitate school infrastructure, provide education supplies, and support the professional development of para-teachers; and continue to prioritize environment and eco-system rehabilitation.

We continue to call on Burma to create the conditions that will allow for voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable returns, based on the informed consent of those who have been forcibly displaced.  Repatriations must be based on relevant and reliable knowledge of the conditions in Burma.  Reports from the UN and the remaining Rohingya in Rakhine State are clear that conditions in Rakhine are neither safe nor conducive for voluntary repatriation.  We continue to urge the Government of Burma to allow such humanitarian access and to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State in accordance with the recommendations of the Annan Commission.  Unhindered humanitarian access is needed to better understand conditions in areas of return and to allow refugees and internally displaced persons to make an informed choice about returning.

I want to end by joining the Government of Bangladesh to call for durable solutions for the Rohingya people, and call on all Member States to work toward resolution to the political situation in Burma.

Thank you.