A day after imposing sanctions on Myanmar generals, the US has declared to immediately redirect $42.4 million assistance away from work that would have benefited the Myanmar government.
"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 Friday.
On Thursday, US President Biden announced imposing sanctions that would prevent the generals who engineered a coup in Myanmar on February 1 from gaining access to $1 billion in funds their government keeps in the US.
He said he would announce additional actions against the military leaders and their families, and demanded that the generals restore democracy and release Aung San Suu Kyi, the nation's civilian leader, whose party won the national elections in November.
President Biden has described the Burmese military coup as a "direct assault on the country's transition to democracy and the rule of law."
Gloria Steele said USAID has stood shoulder to shoulder with the people of Burma for decades in their struggle for peace, democracy, and freedom.
Following the US government's determination on February 2, 2021 that the Burmese military's actions constitute a coup, USAID conducted a thorough review of our assistance to Burma and has decided to redirect $42.4 million.
USAID will continue its support to the people of Burma with approximately $69 million in bilateral programs to maintain and improve health, 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 including in Chin, Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states, as well as the region, the statement said.
Bangladesh has become a major victim because of Rohingya influx over the decades, including the biggest one in 2017 when some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a military crackdown to Bangladesh and joined some 300,000 others who had fled earlier waves of violence.