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OPM appeals to international community over refugee funding

By Eddie Ssejjoba

Added 18th September 2019 11:42 AM

The appeal follows funding gaps towards the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) activities, which is feared, could negatively impact on the country’s capacity to respond to the refugee crisis in the country.

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Last year the total funding for UNHCR programme through the UN system towards refugee response in Uganda was close to sh1b (Photo by Eddie Ssejjoba)

The appeal follows funding gaps towards the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) activities, which is feared, could negatively impact on the country’s capacity to respond to the refugee crisis in the country.

REFUGEES

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has appealed to the International Community to give more resources to the United Nations system and government departments to effectively respond to the refugee crisis in the country.

The appeal follows funding gaps towards the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) activities, which is feared, could negatively impact on the country’s capacity to respond to the refugee crisis in the country.

“Last year the total funding for UNHCR programme through the UN system towards refugee response in Uganda was close to sh1b but today we have close to about  20%, this is really a big shortfall,” said Gerald Simon Menhya, the acting Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).

He, however, said the funding shortfall would not change Uganda’s open-door policy towards receiving refugees. 

“Our doors are still open and such issues do not stop us from receiving more refugees because you cannot close your doors from someone who is fleeing persecution,” he explained.

Menhya noted that the refugee crisis in Uganda is not a government problem but a global challenge and stated that it was the responsibility of the International Community to rescue the situation.  

“It is true there has been a shortfall in the refugee funding, we have seen resources especially those that go to the UNHCR drastically reduced, this means we need to source for more funds from within and outside,” he explained.

The commissioner was recently responding to concerns from journalists about the shortfalls in refugee funding despite the continued in-flow of refugees from neighboring countries.

The commissioner was part of a delegation that accompanied Anita Bhatia, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Resource Management, Sustainability and partnerships, who also doubles as the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Women to Maaji Refugee Settlement in Northern Uganda.

Majority of the refugees in Maaji Refugee Settlement I, II and III are from South Sudan.

Sunday Olivia, one of the women welfare committee leaders said back home they did not have rights and thanked the OPM and other agencies for promoting women to become community leaders and to regain their rights.

She said many women had been trained to speak and write English and in public speaking, where they have gained confidence. She said even their husbands do recognise the fact that they have changed.

She called upon government to continue building capacity of women to help other women shine for a better community.

Several women leaders applauded the program of training and empowering them, others calling upon the Un Women organization to sponsor them to aspire for higher positions at the sub-county and possibly the district. 

  

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