WASHINGTON - The United States is winding down a program which has helped to resettle 73,000 refugees from Myanmar over almost a decade, a US official confirmed Thursday.
After being introduced in 2005 primarily to help Karen and Hmong minorities that have been displaced in Myanmar, also known as Burma, "we're reaching the natural conclusion" of the program, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
"With our robust resettlement program, the number of eligible Burmese refugees has been reduced significantly, and not all Burmese who are eligible for resettlement consideration are interested in permanent resettlement," she said.
Refugees from Myanmar who are still interested in resettling in the US should get their applications in quick, Psaki added.
"If those who are eligible are interested, they should apply now, and we will see the process through for all those who apply."
Human rights groups have long raised concerns about the living conditions of the Karen and Hmong minorities, many of whom have fled persecution.