US redirects $42.4mn funds to Myanmar civil society

The US Agency for International Development USAID has redirected $42.4 million of assistance to support and strengthen civil society in Myanmar instead of supporting the military government.

“Rather than supporting the military, we’ll redirect these funds to support and strengthen civil society,” said USAID Acting Administrator Gloria Steele in a statement.

The USAID said it will continue its support to the people of Myanmar with approximately $69 million in bilateral programmes.

“USAID’s support to the people of Myanmar is more important than ever as we collectively work toward a more democratic, accountable, and inclusive society,” said the USAID Acting Administrator.

In particular, USAID will continue working to maintain and improve the health of the people of Myanmar, including by combating COVID-19, and 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 United States will also continue to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to Rohingya and other vulnerable populations including in Chin, Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states, as well as the region,” said Gloria Steele.

The USAID Acting Administrator said they are the largest donor to the Myanmar and Bangladesh regional crisis humanitarian response.

In FY 2020, the United States provided more than $469 million in humanitarian assistance, bringing the U.S. total contribution since the most recent outbreak of violence in August 2017 to nearly $1.2 billion for those affected within Myanmar as well as refugees in Bangladesh and throughout the region.

USAID has stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Myanmar for decades in their struggle for peace, democracy, and freedom, said the statement.

“They deserve nothing less. President Biden has described the Burmese military’s February 1, 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.”