Countries around the world are set to adopt Uganda’s policy on integrating refugees into the host communities.
According to Mr. Apollo Kazungu, price the Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, government is looking for money to document the policy before other countries can adopt it.
“We have been doing it but without documents on how it is done. We are now looking at documenting experiences and all the necessary information about the policy,” Kazungu told this website.
He noted that government seeks to strengthen the integration policy by bringing on board all government institutions and ministries.
“We shouldn’t feel pity of these refugees because they are part of the social and economic dimensions of the country. We can put them into our plans and can start paying taxes. “
He said by the strengthening the integration policy, ministries of agriculture, works, education and health can be brought on board so the refugees enjoy similar services with the host communities.
According to the Commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, Uganda hosts refugees who have spent more than 10 years in the country which necessitates that they are integrated into the communities.
He mentioned refugees from neighboring countries like DRC and Rwanda who have spent more than 20 years in the country.
Speaking during a workshop on advancing a comprehensive refugee response framework in Uganda at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, the Prime Minister Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda said there is need to ensure refugees are looked after in a situation that doesn’t bring a strain onto the host communities.
“Although the Uganda host communities have shown resilience, there is need for government to integrate the refugees into the communities so they can totally share social services,” Rugunda said on Tuesday.
As per the total integration program, refugees in Uganda are able to share facilities like hospitals, schools and other social services with the host communities saving government money that would be injected in provision of special facilities to the refugees.
The program also aims at giving skills to refugees as other host communities so they can sustain themselves as well as passing on the skills when they return to their countries.
At the event, the British High Commissioner to Uganda, Peter West, however, urged countries to work towards bringing lasting solutions to the push factors forcing refugees out of their home countries.
The European Union Ambassador Kristian Schmidt asked government to work on improving infrastructure in the remote areas since most of the refugees are located there.
“Eighty percent of the refugees are women and children, government should therefore work towards empowering them,
Uganda hosts more than one million refugees from neighboring countries including Rwanda, South Sudan, DRC, Burundi and Somalia among others.
The refugees are currently hosted in camps in various districts like Adjuman, Kiryandongo, Hoima, Koboko, Insingiro and Arua.
As of February, due to continued fighting, over 4000 people entered Uganda from South Sudan daily seeking for refugee.