The Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said Uganda will continue to maintain its open door policy towards refugees and support them until they are ready to return to their home countries when there is peace and stability.

PM Rugunda(R) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees exchange pleasantries at OPM on Tuesday (Photo by PMPU)

UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo(L) interacts with Min.of Relief, Diasaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon. Onek(R) and PS OPM, Christine at OPM on Tuesday(Photo by PMU)

“We need to support refugees because no one chooses the status of a refugee. Refugees should be hosted and protected until they are ready to go back to their countries for permanent settlement when the wars have ended and there is peace,” the Premier said.

The Premier made the remarks while meeting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, at the office of the Prime Minister in Kampala on Tuesday.

The duo discussed issues concerning the refugee policy framework in Uganda.

Rugunda said the Government is committed to the noble cause of supporting refugees in the country, adding that government has agreed to embrace the UNHCR registration system to enhance its work in the refugee settlement areas.

“Government has accepted to use the UNHCR system of registration for refugees to enable proper identification of refugees which will enable us to serve them better. The system will also enable collection of reliable data and records of refugees,” Rugunda said.

The Premier said Government of Uganda will do whatever is possible to ensure that peace and stability is restored in Southern Sudan.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi hailed Uganda for its open door policy towards refugees, and also thanked President Museveni and the government for committing to support refugees.

“Uganda is the largest hosting refugee community in Africa. It has upheld a generous policy of keeping its boarders open to allow refugees freedom of movement and access to social services. Even the deprived communities in Uganda share their meager resources with the refugees,” Filippo said.

Filippo pledged to continue supporting the government of Uganda in expanding its refugee projects. He also urged development actors to continue supporting refuges and their host communities.

Filippo appealed to the leadership of Southern Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo to work towards restoring peace in their countries.

Filippo will attend the launch of the 2018 Refugee Response Plan for South Sudan which will take place in Nairobi this week.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek, the Minister of State for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Musa Ecweru, the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Christine Guwatudde Kintu and UNDP Resident Representative Rosa Malango among others.

Ends 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

BY DOREEN NASASIRA