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Ireland gives UNHCR sh8b for refugees

By Pascal Kwesiga

Added 14th August 2019 02:36 PM

Refugees and host communities still remain poor and vulnerable, with limited access to social services and employment opportunities

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UNHCR country director Joel Boutroue (left) and Irish Ambassador to Uganda William Carlos exchange documents after signing a contract to release funds to refugees. Photo by Nancy Nanyonga

Refugees and host communities still remain poor and vulnerable, with limited access to social services and employment opportunities

Ireland has committed €2m (sh8.2b) towards the refugee response in Uganda.

Ireland's ambassador to Uganda, William Carlos, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) country representative, Joel Boutroue, signed a memorandum of understanding for the funding at the embassy in Kampala on Wednesday.

Carlos said the funding will assist refugees in all settlements by strengthening access to education and vocational training. Part of the funding, he added, will be used to address sexual and gender based violence over the period between 2019 and 2020.

According to the UN refugee agency, currently, Uganda is hosting over 1.3 million refugees. The agency appreciates Uganda for maintaining a progressive approach to refugee management, and the great efforts it is making to address many of the challenges affecting refugees.

Despite these efforts, UNHCR noted, refugees and host communities still remain poor and vulnerable, with limited access to social services and employment opportunities. Many struggle to sustain their families and meet their daily needs, it added.

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“Uganda was one of the pilot countries of the comprehensive refugee response framework which led to the global impact on refugees. The framework, which Ireland strongly supports, is focused on supporting refugees to become more self-reliant,” Carlos said.

The framework is also geared towards strengthening capacities of local and national governments to lead and manage the refugee response.

“The embassy of Ireland is pleased to fund this programme through UNHCR, and highly values partnerships with Government of Uganda and other development partners to improve the lives of the refugees in Uganda,” Carlos stated.

Boutroue said Ireland’s financial support to the refugee response comes at the right time when the agency is grappling with funding gaps. This, he added, will contribute to closing some funding gaps.

“I am happy to see that Ireland is committed to burden-sharing in line with commitments of the global compact on refugees. Education and environment are our priorities, along with our core protection mandate,” Boutroue said.

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