SILVER SPRING, Md. — HIAS welcomes this week’s announcement that the State Department is launching an initiative to resettle the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees in the U.S. as part of the response to the Myanmar (Burma) government and military’s persecution of the Muslim ethnic minority group — who now make up one of the world’s largest populations of stateless people.
“We embrace the good news that the U.S. government is working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the government of Bangladesh on a comprehensive response to the Rohingya refugee crisis, and that the plan will include resettlement to the United States of the most vulnerable Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh,” said HIAS President and CEO Mark Hetfield. “The plight of the Rohingya people calls for such a strategy of resettlement, responsibility sharing with host countries like Bangladesh through resettlement and humanitarian assistance and, above all, severe consequences against the Myanmar Government and military for its genocidal campaign against the Rohingya.”
Hetfield continued, “As a Jewish humanitarian organization driven by the moral imperative to welcome the stranger and protect the refugee, and inspired by America’s historic leadership role in resettlement, HIAS looks forward to working with UNHCR as the agency begins to refer the most vulnerable displaced Rohingya for relocation to the United States. The HIAS resettlement network looks forward to welcoming these Rohingya to start their lives in this country. We also look forward to other resettlement countries joining the U.S. in sharing responsibility with Bangladesh to find durable solutions for Rohingya refugees.”
HIAS joins the State Department in thanking the government of Bangladesh for hosting vulnerable Rohingya refugees and for supporting this new initiative, and we also commend the U.S. government for its continued humanitarian assistance for displaced Rohingya and the communities that have hosted them.