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Uganda to host UN summit on refugees

By David Lumu

Added 25th April 2017 04:02 PM

The need to share the burden of hosting refugees is the spirit behind the refugee summit

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The need to share the burden of hosting refugees is the spirit behind the refugee summit

Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek (C) addressing the media flanked by Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Kazuaki Kameda (R) and UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malang. Photo by Denis Dibele

President Yoweri Museveni and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres have agreed to convene a refugee solidarity summit in Kampala to pave way for solutions to the increasing influx of refugees in Uganda and the region.

According to Hilary Onek, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Uganda will use the summit to solicit for support on how to handle the over 1.2 million refugees, mainly South Sudanese, who have fled their country ever since conflict broke up in December 2013.

Onek, who was addressing journalists today at the Office of the Prime Minister, said the two-day summit will be held in Kampala in June.

Speaking at the same event, Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator and Resident Representative to Uganda, said the need to share the burden of hosting refugees is the spirit behind the refugee summit.

During the two-day summit, Malango said, delegates from all over the world, will conduct field visits to refugee camps and also deliberate on mechanisms of supporting the unique comprehensive refugee settlement model that Uganda has implemented over the years.

The possibility of adopting the Uganda refugee model by the UN and the African Union (AU) is the other issue that delegates will debate.

Under the Uganda refugee settlement model, refugees enjoy rights of citizens, share resources, move freely, mingle into society and also access government services such as health and education without any hindrance.

Uganda has an open door policy on refugee reception and settlement, a model that Malango has described as the best in the world, especially when it comes to the protection of rights of refugees.

Bornwell Kantande, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative to Uganda said 2, 000 refugees cross into Uganda daily.

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