Asia - Pacific

USAID redirects $42M to counter coup in Myanmar

Agency says rather than suppor military it will redirect funds to support people, civil society

SM Najmus Sakib   | 13.02.2021
USAID redirects $42M to counter coup in Myanmar

DHAKA, Bangladesh

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) redirected $42.4 million in assistance Friday in response to Myanmar military’s actions that constituted a coup. 

“As a result [of the military coup], USAID is immediately redirecting $42.4 million of assistance away from work that would have benefited the Government of Burma. Rather than supporting the military, we will redirect these funds to support and strengthen civil society,” said an agency statement provided by the US Embassy in Dhaka.

US President Joe Biden described the coup as a “direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law,” it said. “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.”

USAID will continue to support the people of Burma with approximately $69 million in bilateral programs, it said.

The US 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, the statement continued.

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.

The US sanctioned 10 Myanmar military officials Thursday for their roles in the overthrow of the civilian government. Among those designated are Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, and his deputy Soe Win.  

Background

Myanmar's military declared a state of emergency Feb. 1, hours after detaining de facto leader and State Counsellor Suu Kyi and senior members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).

The coup took place hours before the first session of the country's new parliament was set to convene following elections in November, in which the NLD made sweeping gains.

The military claimed the coup was staged due to "election fraud" in the polls that it said resulted in the dominance of the NLD in parliament.

The UN Human Rights Council said it is “closely” following events.

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