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US urges Myanmar to create safe conditions for Rohingya repatriation

  • Published at 02:52 pm September 25th, 2019
Rohingya Refugee
File photo of a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The state also encouraged the government of Myanmar to work with the Bangladeshi government over the Rohingya issue

The United States has urged Myanmar to create an environment that would allow for 'voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable' return of Rohingyas, based on the informed consent of those who have been forcibly displaced. 

The US also encouraged the government of Myanmar to work with the Bangladeshi government to facilitate the use of the Burmese curriculum to teach Rohingyas in Bangladesh. 

The state made the fresh call in New York on Tuesday, while announcing more than $127 million in additional humanitarian assistance for Rohingyas and host communities in Bangladesh, as well as internally displaced Rohingyas and members of other affected communities in Myanmar

This will help facilitate the reintegration of Rohingya youth who choose to return to Myanmar, according to the US Department of State.

Around 30,000 of these children are under the age of one and some 61,000 are under two years old | Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka TribuneMore than 900,000 Rohingyas are residing in Bangladesh, and this funding will help address the emergency needs of some of the Rohingyas, as well as the related needs of the Bangladeshi host communities. 

The financial support will also provide life-saving assistance to internally displaced persons, including Rohingyas, and members of other affected communities in Myanmar, including those affected by the fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army.

The United States remains the leading contributor to the humanitarian response to this crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, providing more than $669 million since the outbreak of violence in August 2017. 

"We welcome the contributions that some member states have made to this humanitarian response in recent months, and we encourage them to do more and call on other countries and stakeholders to contribute," a statement issued by the US Department of State said.

US assistance provides protection, emergency shelter, food, nutrition, health, psychosocial support, education, and water, sanitation, and hygiene support for people affected by the crisis, among other activities, it said.

The Rohingya rally on the 2nd anniversary of the 2017 influx | Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka TribuneThis funding also includes programs to improve disaster preparedness and bolster access to education for Rohingyas in Bangladesh, which will be key to preventing instability in the camps and preparing Rohingyas for voluntary repatriation, when conditions are conducive to such returns.

The United States commended the government of Bangladesh’s generosity in responding to this humanitarian crisis and appreciates its continued efforts to ensure that assistance reaches the affected populations. 

The US government said it remains committed to ensuring that humanitarian and development assistance continues to reach the Bangladeshi communities who have so generously hosted Rohingya refugees.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas, and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017.

Under immense international pressure, Myanmar had signed an agreement with Bangladesh in January 2018 to take back the Rohingyas. 

Since then, the effort failed mainly due to the unwillingness of the Rohingyas, as they maintained that there was no guarantee that Myanmar will ensure their dignified return and establish their identity as Myanmar nationals.