The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has hailed the government of Uganda and particularly the refugee hosting communities, for sharing the little available with the refugees. He said Uganda’s policy on refugees should be emulated by other countries to make the world a better place to live in.
He noted that Uganda’s humanitarian action deserves appreciation from the international community. ‘Most countries are selfish and close their boarders against people seeking protection’, Guterres said adding, ‘Thank you Uganda for keeping your boarders open and the peoples’ generosity towards refugees is highly appreciated’.
General Guterres made these remarks while visiting Imvepi Refugee Reception Center in Arua district, as part of the activities of the Solidarity Summit on Refugees which took place in Kampala. He was accompanied by Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.
Guterres was optimistic that the Solidarity Summit on Refugees he co-hosted with President Museveni would raise adequate funds to address challenges faced by the refugees and the host communities. More funds were required to provide social services such as schools and health services among others.
Twelve years ago, the Secretary General witnessed celebrations when the refugees were returning to South Sudan after the country achieved independence from Sudan. However, he was dismayed with leaders in South Sudan for creating conflicts which have pushed many people into refugee life. ‘It’s time for the war to stop. Peace in South Sudan should prevail to enable the refugees go back home’, Secretary General said.
He thanked the regional leaders and the international community for the effort so far undertaken to stop the conflict in South Sudan. He urged them to mobilize more resources as well as increase support towards the humanitarian development agenda.
The Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda thanked the hosting communities on behalf of the President, for their generosity towards the refugees. Regarding peace and security in South Sudan, the Premier said the Government of Uganda was working closely with her neighbors under IGAD to stop the conflict.
He urged the public to support and respond to the solidarity summit call aimed at soliciting support for the refugees and the hosting communities.
Leaders of the host community said they were extremely glad to share and live as one with the refugees. ‘We received them with great joy. We look at them as our sisters and brothers and we share all the social facilities with them’, the leaders said.
They also highlighted challenges they face such as water shortage, few schools and inadequate health facilities among others. They thanked the UN Secretary General for supporting them and asked that the host community be allowed to share on the livelihood interventions the refugees were getting.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA