A Commitment to Global Solidarity
In a powerful display of international unity, Under Secretary Zeya delivered a compelling address at a high-level United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) side event, reaffirming the United States’ unwavering commitment to the Rohingya crisis. Hosted jointly with the Government of Bangladesh, the event underscored the imperative of continued global support for Rohingya refugees.
Gratitude and Generosity
Expressing her gratitude, Under Secretary Zeya extended her thanks to Madam Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the Government of Bangladesh for their gracious invitation to co-host this vital gathering. It served as a platform for renewed dedication to finding solutions for the displaced Rohingya.
Insights from the Ground
Having recently visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Under Secretary Zeya shared three profound observations that have shaped her perspective on the crisis.
Bangladesh’s Remarkable Generosity
First and foremost, she highlighted the extraordinary generosity of the government and people of Bangladesh. Six years have passed since Bangladesh opened its doors to more than 740,000 Rohingya, who fled the brutal campaign of genocide and ethnic cleansing in Burma. Despite the immense burden, Bangladesh continues to provide shelter and support, a testament to its unwavering commitment to humanity.
The Vital Role of Humanitarian Aid
Secondly, Under Secretary Zeya emphasized the life-saving impact of humanitarian assistance and the dedicated efforts of organizations like UNHCR and IOM in the lives of Rohingya refugees and vulnerable host communities. She also underscored the catastrophic consequences when essential aid and support fail to reach those in need.
U.S. Commitment and Support
With pride, Under Secretary Zeya announced the United States’ commitment to provide more than $116 million in new humanitarian assistance. This funding, exceeding $74 million for Rohingya refugees and their host communities in Bangladesh and the surrounding region, brings the U.S. contribution to over $2.2 billion since 2017. This support aims to save lives, offer protection, provide shelter, ensure sanitation, deliver healthcare, and empower Rohingya and Bangladeshis to build safer communities.
A Resolute Rohingya Community
Thirdly, Under Secretary Zeya bore witness to the determination of Rohingya women, men, and youth to forge a future in Burma when conditions permit. Despite their desire to return to a country that recognizes them as citizens and safeguards their rights, the ongoing brutality of Burma’s military regime poses significant obstacles to their safe repatriation.
Encouraging Education and Livelihood Opportunities
While awaiting safer conditions, the Rohingya population seeks opportunities to develop skills for sustainable reintegration into Rakhine State. The United States strongly advocates for the expansion of education and livelihood opportunities for Rohingya in Bangladesh, while also supporting local communities that host them.
A Shared Responsibility for a Peaceful Future
Unser Secretary Zeya called upon the international community to maintain pressure on Burma’s military regime to end the crisis, create conditions for voluntary and safe repatriation, and hold those responsible for genocide and other atrocities accountable. The goal is a peaceful, inclusive, and democratic Burma where all, including Rohingya, can flourish.
Resettlement as a Path Forward
Recognizing the current risks to Rohingya returning home, resettlement emerges as another crucial component of comprehensive solutions. The United States has welcomed nearly 13,000 Rohingya, including those from Bangladesh, since 2009. Priority is given to the most vulnerable among them, and a call is issued for other nations to join in providing sanctuary to Rohingya refugees.
Unwavering U.S. Support
In closing, Under Secretary Zeya reiterated the United States’ steadfast support for the Rohingya crisis response and expressed gratitude for the solidarity of its partners. The international community stands together in confronting this humanitarian challenge, demonstrating the power of unity in the face of adversity.