US delegation ends Myanmar trip, now in Bangladesh


Deputy Minister U Soe Aung meets with a delegation led by the United State Acting Assistant Secretary Mr. Simon Henshaw. Photo: Myanmar News Agency

Simon Henshaw, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, has led a high level US delegation to Myanmar and is now in Bangladesh for the second leg of their visit. 

The delegation met senior Myanmar government officials, diplomats and UN officials during their stay in Yangon and NayPhi Taw and their visit to Sittwe between Oct 29-31, "They discussed the US and international responses to the ongoing crisis and tried to explore durable solutions," US diplomats said.

But the delegation did not visit troubled spots in Northern Rakhine. 

They discussed "ways to address the humanitarian and human rights concerns stemming from the Rakhine State crisis and improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance to displaced persons in Burma, Bangladesh, and the region," US diplomats said.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby of the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary Tom Vajda of the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, and Office Director Patricia Mahoney of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs accompanied Acting Assistant Secretary Simon Henshaw during their three visits to Myanmar.

 The delegation also met international and NGO partners to "discuss the current state of the crisis, promote protection for persons affected by the violence and accountability for reported human rights abuses, urge unhindered humanitarian access to affected communities in Rakhine State, and press for the establishment of protection mechanisms to enable individuals to voluntarily return in safety and with dignity." 

The delegation is now in Bangladesh, where they are meeting senior government officials, donors, and humanitarian agencies to "discuss efforts to improve conditions for the significant influx of refugees into Bangladesh to effectively meet life-saving needs."

The delegation is now visiting affected communities in Cox’s Bazar District in southeastern Bangladesh to hear the stories of the people who have fled, assess the impact of the emergency humanitarian response, identify gaps in assistance, and advise on ways to improve the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

On Wednesday, they met Bangladesh's junior foreign minister Mohd Shahriar Alam in Dhaka.

Speaking with the US delegates, State Minister Shahriar expressed sincere gratitude for the strong political as well as humanitarian support of the US government on the refugee crisis, reported 'Dhaka Tribune.'

Minister Alam also highlighted the five-point proposal given by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in September and requested the continuation of US support in this regard.

Secretary Simon Henshaw deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s decision to temporarily shelter more than 600,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. “Bangladesh responded extremely well to this unprecedented humanitarian crisis,” Minister Alam claimed.

Henshaw also assured the state minister of support from the US government, both financial and diplomatic, for the safe, sustainable and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya refugees.

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