BY ISAAC MUGERA –

Government has suspended receiving new refugees and asylum seekers with immediate effect for a period of 30 days as one of the measures to curb the spread of the Corona Virus Disease (COVID 19).

This was revealed this morning in a joint statement by the Government of Uganda, and the United Nations (UN), on Refugee Focused Prevention and Control Measures for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Statement was delivered by the Minister of State for Relief, Refugees and Disaster Preparedness and Management, Hon. Musa Ecweru.

Minister Ecweru addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Center

Until 21st March 2020, Uganda was continuing to receive new refugees /asylum seekers daily and responds to protection and assistance needs of the new arrivals from mainly 3 countries; South Sudan, DRC and Burundi.

Minister Ecweru added that all the refugee reception centers at the border points at; Sebagoro, Nyakabande, Matanda, Elegu and Ntoroko as well as the Department of Refugees (DOR) offices in Kampala and Old Kampala Police Desk Refugee Office are to close with immediate effect for a period of 30 days.

Ecweru however stressed that refugees who are already in the country will continue to receive the support and solidarity in line with the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health.

The UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Rosa Malango said that the measures taken by the Government of Uganda are in line with the UN standard measures in the reception and protection of refugees.

Minister Ecweru flanked by the UN Resident Coordinator, Ms. Rosa Malango.

Uganda currently hosts the largest refugee population in Africa with 1,411,098 refugees & asylum seekers as of 29th Feb 2020. The refugees are hosted in 13 districts of Adjumani, Arua, Moyo, Yumbe, Lamwo, Kiryandongo, Kyegeegwa, Kamwenge, Isingiro, Obongi, Koboko and Kikuube, hosted in a total of 30 settlements.