IMMIGRATION | REFUGEES
With an estimated 1.2 million refugees currently being hosted in Uganda, the newly formed World Refugee Council has called on other countries to share responsibility of what is currently being considered a major humanitarian tragedy in recent times.
Formed this year by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), the World Refugee Council I an independent group of experts and political leaders from around the world with an objective of considering new ways of meeting the needs of refugees and states.
In a statement released Wednesday, the Council is calling on other nations to share responsibility for protecting refugees and assisting host communities.
Sitting for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland this week, ahead of the ‘Solidarity Summit on Refugees’ to be held in Kampala next week, the Council highlighted the rather complex position of the global refugee crisis that require a deeper investigation.
The summit is organized by the UN Refugee Agency, the United Nations and the government of Uganda.
“The Council will bring an independent voice to one of the most difficult issues of our time. The situation of South Sudanese refugees is symptomatic of deeper problems in the refugee system that the Council will seek to address.”
Uganda is now the largest refugee-hosting state in Africa with around 1.2 million refugees, 900,000 of whom are from South Sudan.
For the past year, an average of 40,000 South Sudanese refugees have entered Uganda every month, 86 percent of whom are women and children.
Other refugees from South Sudan have crossed into Sudan, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.
“Uganda has traditionally taken a progressive approach to hosting refugees, offering them freedom of movement and immediate access to its labor market, as well as developing innovative approaches to supporting refugee self-reliance. But continued implementation of these policies depends on greater international support and responsibility sharing," reads the statement.
In a March article published by New Vision and authored by the Minister of State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Musa Ecweru, he expressed concern over the limited humanitarian response from other countries.
“It is deeply troubling that the humanitarian response to refugees in Uganda is chronically and severely underfunded, even as thousands of refugees continue to enter the country every day," he wrote.
The minister said Uganda needs the support of the international community to uphold its progressive approach that has since become a model for other countries in terms of new ways of working.