U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator Mark Green said he will travel to Myanmar later this week, where he will raise the urgent need for the Government to take steps to end the crisis.
The USAID official said this in a meeting with Foreign Minister M.D. Shahidul Haque in Dhaka on Wednesday.
According to a press release issued here on Thursday, Administrator Green thanked the Government of Bangladesh for generously hosting and assisting nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled violence and persecution in Burma since August 2017, and underscored the U.S. commitment to the humanitarian response to the crisis.
The Administrator noted the announcement yesterday of $44 million in additional U.S. assistance for the Rohingya and other vulnerable populations in Bangladesh and Burma.
“The United States has contributed nearly $300 million to assist displaced people in and from Burma since Fiscal Year 2017,” it reads.
The Administrator also reiterated that any repatriation or relocation of the Rohingya must be safe, voluntary, dignified, and based on informed consent.
The two officials also discussed the strong partnership between the United States and Bangladesh, including USAID’s long history in the country.
The Administrator pledged to continue cooperation with Bangladesh, including USAID’s support for civil society, and celebrated Bangladesh’s recently meeting all three criteria required for graduation from least developed country (LDC) status in 2024.
Administrator Green voiced the U.S. Government’s expectations that Bangladesh fulfill its commitment to hold free, fair, credible, and participatory elections that reflect the will of the Bangladeshi people, the press release said.
He highlighted the importance of preserving the rights of free speech and assembly, as well as a free and independent press, before, during, and after the upcoming national voting later this year.
The Administrator also asked for the Government of Bangladesh’s continued assistance in prosecuting those responsible for the brutal killing in 2016 of Xulhaz Mannan, a USAID employee.
Attending the meeting were U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat; Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugee, and Migration Mark Storella; and Senior Deputy Assistant USAID Administrator for Asia Gloria Steele.