Summary of U.S. Governmental Assistance to Burma in the past 3 years
Since 2012, the United States has provided over $500 million to support Burma’s transition, advance the peace process, and improve the lives of millions, including by assisting communities affected by violence and combating hate speech and communal violence.
More than 1.1 million people have improved food security, and over 300,000 impoverished farming families have increased their agricultural productivity with better access to technology, markets and new investments.
New entrepreneurs are benefiting from the economic reform process, which has increased access to information and communications technology.
Over 20 public-private partnerships with leading U.S. corporations, information and communications technology companies, and foundations work to develop small and medium enterprises, improve healthcare, and bring new technologies to Burma.
In preparation for the historic elections in 2015, the United States trained more than 7,300 political party members and partnered with over 300 civil society organizations on voter education and observation, strengthening public participation in Burma’s overall reform process.
In Fiscal Year 2015, the United States provided more than $50 million to address humanitarian needs in Burma, including among internally displaced persons throughout the country and vulnerable Burmese refugees and asylum seekers in the region.
In response to the maritime migrant crisis in May and June 2015, the United States provided more than $6 million towards the emergency appeals from the International Organization for Migration and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and helped provide temporary shelter, emergency relief items, and health, nutrition, and psychosocial assistance.
During the heavy seasonal rainfall in July and August 2015 and Tropical Cyclone Komen, the United States provided more than $5 million in humanitarian assistance to all affected communities, working with local officials and international relief partners to distribute essential supplies and services to the emergency shelters in the worst-affected areas and assist in early recovery efforts.
US Governmental Responses to Crisis Timeline
November 19 2012
Barack Obama meets with President Thein Sein and Aung San Suu Kyi, becoming the first sitting US president to visit Burma/Myanmar.
During this visit, the Burmese government made 11 specific commitments to strengthen human rights protections, including reforms related to religious freedom, political prisoners, conflict mitigation, ethnic reconciliation, nonproliferation, good governance, and human trafficking.
May 2 2013
-Under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, Barack Obama notified Congress to extend for one more year the national emergency with respect to Burma.
-The Secretary of State also terminated the Presidential Proclamation 6925 which was the 1996 visa ban. The U.S. Government took these measures to encourage and strengthen the reform process in Burma.
-In addition to these sanctions, the U. S. Government increased their support of programs by increasing budget that advanced democratic reforms, promoting national reconciliation, and facilitating broad-based economic growth in Burma.
May 7 2014
Passed House amended (H.Res.418):
-Recognizes the initial steps Burma has taken in transitioning from a military dictatorship to a quasi-civilian government, including the conditional release of some political prisoners, and calls for more progress to be made in critical areas of democracy, constitutional reform, and national reconciliation.
-Calls on the government of Burma to: (1) end persecution and discrimination of the Rohingya people, recognize the Rohingya as an indigenous ethnic group, and resolve their citizenship status; and (2) ensure respect for human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.
-Calls on the United States and the international community to put pressure on Burma to end the persecution and discrimination of the Rohingya population and to protect the fundamental rights of all ethnic and religious minority groups in Burma.
-Calls on the United States to prioritize the removal of state-sanctioned discriminatory policies in its engagement with Burma.
-President Obama attended the ASEAM Summit in Naypyitaw, Burma and met with President Thein Sein and NLD Chair Aung San Suu Kyi. In each meeting Obama reiterated the U.S.’s commitment to stand with the Burman people as they seek reform to help the country realized its full potential as a peaceful democratic and prosperous country.
-Obama raised concerns about the need to address human rights and humanitarian issues, specifically addressing the Rahkine State, which pose serious challenges to Burma’s reform process.
-In response, the Burmese government acknowledged that there is still a lot of work to be done but reiterated their dedication to work with the U.S. to continue their process of democratic reform.
November 14 2014
–NY TIMES Article referenced Obama’s meeting with San Suu Kyi
-Obama shows full support for Myanmar’s steps towards reform but also states that Myanmar is falling short on some key respects such as its refusal to amend a constitutional provision that makes Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi ineligible to run for president and its unwillingness to curb the violence against the Muslim Rohingya minority in the country’s west.
-Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi addressed her remarks of the U. S. being too optimistic about the progress of Myanmar’s transition and instead was thankful for U.S.’s support.
May 20, 2015
Washington called on the nations of Southeast Asia to join their forces and help Burmese and Bangladeshi migrants who have been stranded at sea for weeks.
Then the U.S. State Department criticized Burma, officially called Myanmar, for failing to address the main cause of the crisis which stems mostly from the government’s refusal to recognize Muslim minority as lawful citizens.
Obama in addressing what is required for Myanmar to succeed:
“One of the most important things is to put an end to discrimination against people because of what they look like or what their faith is. I think if I were a Rohingya, I would want to stay where I was born. But I’d want to make sure that my government was protecting me and that people were treating me fairly, and that’s why it’s so important, I think, as part of the democratic transition, to take very seriously this issue of how the Rohingya are treated.” -Barack Obama