Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has said Uganda will maintain its open door policy towards refugees and also empower them to be productive citizens when they go back to their respective countries.
He stressed that there was need to support and help refugees. ‘No one chooses to be a refugee but is compelled by circumstances to become one,’ he observed.
The Premier made the remarks while meeting with the Food and Agriculture Organization Director General, Mr. Jose Graziano De Silva at the Office of the Prime Minister in Kampala. The Premiere discussed with the Director General Uganda’s open door policy towards refugees and other programmes undertaken by FAO in the country.
‘Let us treat refugees as normal human beings who are in distress searching for hope, and also enable them to go back to their country as better people,’ Dr Rugunda said. He said Uganda’s policy on refugees also calls for the host communities to mutually support and co-exist with the refugees. He commended FAO for the commitment towards supporting refugees in the country.
The FAO Director General Jose Graziano De Silva, saluted Uganda for her generous policy towards refugees and for being one of the largest refugee hosting country in the world. He added that refugees should be perceived and embraced as people who can contribute towards the country’s development. Mr Jose also commended Uganda’s policy of availing land to refugees for agricultural activities. He pledged FAO’s continued support in Uganda.
The Minister of State for Agriculture Kibanzanga Christopher, expressed gratitude towards FAO for funding numerous activities and projects in the Ministry of Agriculture. He said FAO’s assitance has enabled the ministry to progress and also achieve some of its targets.
Others who attended the meeting was the FAO’s Resident Representative in Uganda, Alhaji M. Jallow, Uganda’s Deputy Ambassador to Italy, Dr. Mumtaz Kassam and the Commissioner for Refugees in the Ministry of Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Apollo David Kazungu.
The FAO Director General is expected to visit Adjumani Refugee settlements and also meet the District officials.
BY DOREEN NASASIRA