The team, which included Angelline Osegge (Soroti district), Harold Muhindo (Bukonzo East), Betty Muzanira (Rukungiri district), and Patrick Ochan (Apac Municipality) visited Kyangwali, Kyaka II, Rwamwanja and Nakivale.
By Moses Kaziba
The Leader of Opposition (LOP) in Parliament, Betty Aol Ocan, has asked the government to provide more funding to cater for the needs of refugees hosted in Uganda.
Ocan, who together with selected Opposition MPs, toured refugee camps and hosting communities, said increased government funding coupled with the donor funds will enable the Office of the Prime Minister and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), and other partners to properly respond to the region's biggest refugee influx estimated at 1.3 million refugees in Uganda by the end of 2020.
"The Government should know that it is fully in charge of all these refugees and it is upon it to increase funding to OPM to handle them as these international partners are just here to help us," she said.
The Opposition team, which includedAngelline Osegge (Soroti district), Harold Muhindo (Bukonzo East), Betty Muzanira (Rukungiri district), and Patrick Ochan (Apac Municipality) visited Kyangwali, Kyaka II, Rwamwanja and Nakivale Refugee resettlement centres from 1st to 5th July 2019.
Ocan made the remarks while meeting officials from OPM and donor partners after her team had completed their oversight visits to the centres.
She further appealed to the government to also continue supporting refugee hosting districts because lack of support for such host communities could reduce their willingness to share land and resources and hence increasing tensions between communities.
Ocan thanked the donors for their support, but also emphasized the need for more international solidarity with Uganda, which has a generous and progressive refugee policy and response.
The unending conflicts and abuse of human rights in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan are pushing hundreds of people to flee and take refugee in Uganda.
Over 100 national and international organisations and UN agencies are partnering with UNHCR and OPM in the current Refugee Response Plan (RRP). The Plan includes interventions to ensure the provision of water and sanitation, health and nutrition, food, shelter, education, environmental protection, livelihood support, and protection services.
The major priorities, according to the RRP stakeholders are protection and emergency response, increasing education opportunities, restoring the environment and supporting livelihoods. These priorities, in particular, education and environment, are key to ensuring a positive impact on the host communities and are crucial to sustain peaceful co-existence between the refugee and host communities and sustain the generosity of Uganda.
The RRP includes interventions to increase the capacity of local service providers, including district authorities. Around a quarter of the recipients of education and health services established through the refugee response are local Ugandans. Many more interventions target refugee and host communities equally and seek to build resilience and self-reliance.
The Plan was revised with a small reduction in the overall budget requirements, following verification of the numbers of refugees registered in Uganda in 2018. The population figures include the new arrivals since then. Uganda currently hosts 1.25 million refugees.
The refugee population is anticipated to grow to 1.3 million individuals by the end of 2020, taking into account likely scenarios for limited influxes, population growth, and some spontaneous returns.