US happy to establish resettlement program for the most vulnerable Rohingyas

The Biden administration announced on September 27 that the cap on refugee admissions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 would be 125,000-the same as the cap for FY 2022. The admission of up to 125,000 refugees to the United States during Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 is justified by humanitarian concerns or is otherwise in the national interest, according to the White House.

The admissions numbers shall be allocated among refugees of special humanitarian concern to the United States in accordance with the following regional allocations - Africa -40,000, East Asia 15,000, Europe and Central Asia 15,000, Latin America/Caribbean 15,000, Near East/South Asia 35,000 and unallocated reserve 5,000. The 5,000 unallocated refugee numbers shall be allocated to regional ceilings, as needed.

"As part of our unwavering partnership with the government of Bangladesh and our comprehensive response to Rohingya refugees, the US government is very pleased to establish, in coordination with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other resettlement countries, a resettlement program for the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees," said US Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes who visited Bangladesh on December 3-7.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said resettlement of a few Rohingyas in the US is not a solution; rather the solution is repatriation to their homeland in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

"This is not the solution. The key solution is that they will have to return to their homeland. It's a process," he said.

Momen said the United States is taking a few Rohingyas as a follow up to his discussion with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

There has been a list of 62 Rohingyas and 24 of them are being taken to the USA in the first batch, said the Foreign Minister.

The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is requesting big countries to take at least 100,000 Rohingyas each, to share Bangladesh's burden.

"Some of them are going as part of family reunification. They have their relatives there. I think that's how the list of 62 came. But it is up to them," Momen said.

The US Assistant Secretary met Foreign Minister Momen and discussed a "comprehensive approach" to the protracted Rohingya crisis with international support.

Asked about relocation of some Rohingyas in the United States, Momen said it is "just a drop in the ocean", as Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas.

He said the US did not mention any exact number but he hinted the number could be 62 only in the beginning.

"The United States is proud to be able to support resettlement in our country of the very vulnerable Rohingya. This is a priority of President Biden. We are discussing with other governments and with other partners. We will be working together with the international community," Noyes said, thanking Momen for Bangladesh's life-saving support for the Rohingyas.

Noyes had the opportunity to meet with Bangladesh officials, other Bangladeshis, Rohingya refugees, and humanitarian partners to understand the effects of the violence in Myanmar on the lives of Bangladeshis and Rohingya.

During her visit, the delegation observed refugee camps in Cox's Bazar and Bhasan Char, where they pledged to continue their support, alongside many other countries, NGOs, and international organizations, to Rohingya refugees and the affected Bangladeshi communities.

The United States takes its partnership with Bangladesh seriously in supporting the Rohingya refugees.  Since 2017, the American people have provided more than $1.9 billion in humanitarian assistance to affected populations in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region, for Rohingya and their host communities.

The five-year crisis Rohingya refugees have endured has impacted their basic freedoms. "We have placed strong sanctions on Burma to encourage changes in behavior that will stop the violence and allow Rohingya to return to their homeland," Noyes said.

The US also supports efforts to hold the perpetrators of the genocide against Rohingya accountable and to ensure justice for the victims.

The United States commends the people of Bangladesh for generously welcoming refugees into their communities and for recognizing what is also clear to them - it is not yet safe for refugees to return home. 

"We stand with Bangladesh in responding to the needs of refugees and the Bangladeshis who host them because all people deserve to live in safety and with dignity," Noyes said.

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