The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Uganda, dosage Rosa Malango has commended Uganda’s approach towards refugee integration which she says is a step in the right direction in eliminating the incidence of violent extremism and its consequent impacts.
Malango said that unlike other countries, refugees in Uganda are better positioned to improve their socioeconomic livelihood as a result of government’s favorable policies.
Countries like neighboring Kenya have faced numerous terror attacks linked to Somali based terrorist group Al Shabab which are believed to be facilitated by radicalization of Somalis seeking refuge in Kenya.
In 2015, the Kenyan government took a deliberate effort to close down Dadaab camp, the largest refugee settlement in Africa due to reasons relating to security.
Asked whether Uganda which currently hosts over 1.2 million refugees isn’t likely to face a similar security threat, Malango told ChimpReports that; “What I see in Uganda is a successful model which doesn’t only give dignity to refugees but enhances national security.”
“Because the refugees are able to get education, get a job and an Identity Card, they don’t need to go underground. They actually can operate openly with the communities,” Malango said in an interview earlier this week.
She added that it is for the easy accessibility of social services and economic interests that refugees in Uganda will strive to safeguard the country more than anything else. “They will protect alongside Ugandans the community that is giving them dignity and a safe haven.”
Beyond what Uganda is doing, the UN’s regional strategy for Africa which aims at preventing violent extremism emphasizes empowerment of communities through creation of employment for the youths.
The strategy follows a UN study conducted across Africa which indicated that since the year 2000, up to 5,745 extremist linked terror attacks have been carried out. A total of 30,000 lives have been lost and 10,000 wounded.
States have been found to be responsible for pushing young people to extremist activities, the study further indicates. More than half (57%) of those that have been previously involved in such activities were introduced at the age of 18 and 68% were introduced by family and friends.
“We are working with cultural leaders to reach out to communities and influence income generating activities. If some you have a good job and can take care of your family, you are less likely to pursue violence,” Malango told ChimpReports.
She revealed that UN is supporting government to come up with a National Preventing Violent Extremism strategy which will stipulate the objectives and roles of the different stakeholders.
“Then we can proceed to assess the commonalities within the East African region since there’s easy movement of people across the borders. This will help ensure the Ugandan strategy makes sense in Kenya or DRC,” she added.
Uganda is set to host the Solidarity Summit on Refugees, co-chaired by President Yoweri Museveni and UN Secretary General António Guterres between on June 22 and 23. This comes at a time when the country has receive international credit for trail blazing in the area of refugee resettlement.
According to Malango, the June summit is an opportunity for the rest of the world to benchmark on the achievements of Uganda since it received the first batch of refugees after World War 1.
“If the international community attends the Summit as we expect them to, and they support the already existing efforts, we will be able to sustain and increase the quality of services being given to refugees in Uganda,” she said.