Office of the Spokesperson
November 15, 2017
The United States supports a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Burma that respects the human rights of all its people. We are working to immediately address the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, strengthen Burma’s transition to democracy, expand economic opportunity, improve health and resilience of vulnerable populations, further national reconciliation, empower local communities and civil society, and strengthen respect for and protection of human rights and religious freedom.
ADDRESSING THE CRISIS AND LONG-TERM CHALLENGES IN RAKHINE STATE:
- Providing over $47 million in additional humanitarian assistance, bringing the United States’ response to the Rakhine State crisis in Burma and Bangladesh to more than $87 million since August 2017, and total humanitarian assistance for displaced people in and from Burma to nearly $151 million since the start of FY 2017;
- Engaging with the Burmese government at all levels to demand the end to violence and mass atrocities and resolve the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State, including the safe, voluntary, dignified return of displaced persons, the majority of whom are Rohingya;
- Working to hold accountable those responsible for mass atrocities and human rights violations and abuses;
- Advocating for the Burmese government’s implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
STRENGTHENING DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION AND DEVELOPMENT:
- Providing over $68 million to Burma since 2013 to strengthen democratic processes, including: $18 million for the 2015 elections, which resulted in a civilian-led government; over $11 million to build democratic justice and civilian law enforcement, including fighting trafficking in persons and reducing the supply of and demand for narcotics; and continued support for civil society organizations and marginalized communities to foster intercommunal tolerance and understanding and improve natural resource management;
- Reducing poverty to enable a resilient, democratic society to realize its potential;
- Trained over 225,000 smallholder farmers in modern farming techniques in 2017;
- Distributed enough bed nets last year to protect 1 million people as Burma moves closer to eliminating malaria by 2030 through the President’s Malaria Initiative;
- The U.S.-Myanmar Partnership Dialogue was formulated in 2016 and has expanded bilateral communication and cooperation in political and economic spheres;
- Provided advisory support to the civilian government on 40+ business-enabling laws, regulations and policies, facilitating increases in U.S. exports to Burma and more investment opportunities for the private sector;
- Supported a USTR-led Trade Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) dialogue to ensure free, fair, and reciprocal U.S.-Burma trade;
- Led the creation of the Myanmar Labor Initiative, through which international partners support the ongoing efforts of workers, employers, and the government to improve industrial relations and reform labor laws to meet international standards.
SUPPORTING THE NATIONAL PEACE PROCESS:
- Providing over $60 million since 2012 to deepen and sustain reform, and to foster legitimate and inclusive peacebuilding nationally, including support to diverse civil society;
- Including $1 million to implement a peace education curriculum in secular and faith-based schools and to conduct research on religious and ethnic issues in the political dialogue;
- Working with civil society, ethnic armed groups, and political parties to build a culture of dialogue and move toward an inclusive, sustainable end to armed conflict.