Following the United States (US) Government's determination on 2 February, 2021 that the Myanmar military's actions constituted a coup, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) conducted a thorough review of its assistance to the country.
"As a result, USAID is immediately redirecting $42.4 million of assistance away from work that would have benefited the Government of Burma (Myanmar). Rather than supporting the military, we will redirect these funds to support and strengthen civil society," USAID Acting Administrator Gloria Steele said in a statement on Thursday.
"USAID has stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Myanmar for decades in their struggle for peace, democracy and freedom. They deserve nothing less," she added.
"President Biden has described the Burmese military's 1 February, 2021 coup as a 'direct assault on the country's transition to democracy and the rule of law.' The people of Burma have struggled for too long and made too many sacrifices for the military to erase this progress in such an undemocratic manner," said USAID's acting administrator.
USAID will continue its support to the people of Myanmar with approximately $69 million in bilateral programs. In particular, it will continue working to maintain and improve the health of the people of Myanmar, including by combating Covid-19, and to: strengthen the ability of civil society to guard democratic space, foster food security, support independent media, and promote peace and reconciliation in conflict-affected regions.
The US will also continue to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to Rohingya and other vulnerable populations in the Chin, Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states as well as the region.
"We are the largest donor to the Burma and Bangladesh regional crisis humanitarian response. In FY2020, the United States provided more than $469 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing the US total contribution since the most recent outbreak of violence in August 2017 to nearly $1.2 billion for those affected within Burma as well as refugees in Bangladesh and throughout the region," said USAID.
It further said, "USAID's support to the people of Burma is more important than ever as we collectively work toward a more democratic, accountable and inclusive society."