The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has called for an integrated approach while dealing with refugees. He said refugees should be treated with dignity since they do not choose to have such a status.
He said Uganda applies the Integrated Refugee Management Model currently considered the best around the world. It aims at ensuring that refugees and the host communities live and share social facilities such as health and education. Refugees are however barred from participating in Ugandan politics.
The Premier made the remarks at a workshop on Advancing the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in Uganda, held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala. The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework is a brainchild of the New York Declaration of September 2016.
The New York Declaration is a mechanism through which refugees are managed as a collective responsibility not as a single host country responsibility. It also means that host countries have to accept to conform to acceptable international standards.
The Prime minister noted that Uganda still needs support and partnership from other countries to successfully continue with its inclusive policy for refugees. ‘Our Refugee management approach is all inclusive for refugees and host communities’, he said adding, ‘It is for this reason that Uganda captured refugee issues in the NDPII and for the plan to succeed, we need support and partnership’.
He called upon members of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework secretariat to use the platform to find common solutions regarding refugees and also to address causes of displacement. Rugunda thanked the host communities for demonstrating high levels of resilience despite the big influx of refugees that has strained them and the economy.
The Permanent Secretary Office of the Prime Minister, Christine Guwatudde Kintu, emphasized Uganda’s need to focus on what is stated in the NDPII regarding refugees. She said focus should also be put on enhancing the governance structure that will guide the CRRF secretariat to overcome refugee challenges.
During the workshop, a number of issues were raised which included; the need for a conducive environment for refuges in Uganda, addressing inequalities for better service delivery in refugee host communities and encouraging the private sector to invest in areas hosting refugees.
The Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework operates under the following pillars; Admission and Rights, Emergency Response and Ongoing needs, Resilience and Self Reliance, Expanded solutions and Voluntary Repatriation.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA