USCRI Statement on the Five Years of the Rohingya Crisis

By USCRI August 23, 2022

Earlier this year, the U.S. Government formally determined that the Myanmar military régime committed genocide and crimes against humanity against ethnic Rohingya Muslims. This determination comes nearly five years after Myanmar’s military régime launched a total war that forced hundreds of thousands, including elderly, women, and children, of Muslim Rohingya from their homes and into neighboring Bangladesh. In his speech, Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, acknowledged the nearly one million Rohingya that have been forced to seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh, and the murders of 9,000 Rohingya in 2017 by the Myanmar military.

This determination came less than a month after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. In just six months, the United States has committed to accepting 100,000 Ukrainians under the Uniting for Ukraine program and has already welcomed over 50,000. Conversely, in the five years since the Rohingya crisis began, the United States has welcomed approximately 12,000 Rohingya refugees.

“Action is more than a declaration of empty words,” said USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash. “While the quick support for Ukraine is commendable, there are many other populations, the Rohingya being one of them, that the world is failing.”

Refugee camps in Bangladesh have been inadequately resourced and are subject to flooding and fires. Rohingya are also one of the largest stateless populations in the world as the Myanmar government refuses to offer Rohingya citizenship, and they are without legal status in neighboring Bangladesh. The international community should fully fund the 2022 Joint Response Plan, which provides much needed humanitarian aid for the Rohingya Response. Additionally, Congress should pass the BURMA Act, which includes authorization of funds to support civil society actors working to establish democracy and greater security in Myanmar.

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

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