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Parliament’s Rejection: Evaluating Uganda’s Refugee Policy

The parliament has rejected a recommendation from the Committee on Equal Opportunities urging a review of the refugee policy to manage their influx to a sustainable level. Dorcas Acen, the committee’s deputy chairperson, presented this proposal during a plenary session on Thursday, February 15. The committee will later need to provide another report regarding the status of refugees and the communities hosting them in Uganda.

A portion of the report emphasized the committee’s strong suggestion for the government to revise its refugee policy to prevent potential long-term conflicts arising from an overflow of refugees and a decrease in funding due to cuts in donor support. This suggestion appears to contradict the Kampala declaration on refugees. Mulimba noted some internal administrative concerns raised by the declaration.

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja pointed out that the Global Summit on Refugees in December 2023 had addressed the management of limited resources for districts hosting refugees in Uganda. She argued against using this issue to advocate for restricting refugee entry into Uganda, highlighting Uganda’s recognition for its refugee policy globally.

Nabbanja emphasized that refugees come seeking safety and that Uganda’s secure and peaceful environment attracts them. She highlighted Uganda’s history as a refugee exporter in 1986 and its current status as a host to 1.6 million refugees.

Rose Obigah, representing Terego District, stated that her constituency has experienced positive development due to the presence of refugees. She stressed the importance of treating refugees with dignity and addressing any challenges they face within host communities.

The Leader of the Opposition, Joel Ssenyonyi, urged the government to collaborate with neighboring countries to assist Uganda in supporting host communities. He emphasized the need for collective responsibility and support from neighboring countries, as Uganda cannot bear the burden alone and host communities often lack resources.


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