Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda has reassured scores of dignitaries that graced the Solidarity Summit on Refugees about Uganda’s commitment to keep its doors open to all refugees
The Summit, co-hosted by Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni and Secretary General of the United Nations, H.E. Antonio Guterres opened today at the Speke Resort Munyonyo, attracting regional leaders and stakeholders from all over the world.
At the summit, Dr Rugunda reiterated in his opening remarks, Uganda’s resolve to keep welcoming all refugees, regardless of the insufficient available resources; stressing that the country has been hosting refugees since the 1940s.
“This summit…is coming at the back drop of increasing numbers of refugees coming into the country and declining resources to cater for their needs and address increasing social economic pressures on host communities,” said the Premier.
“Uganda has maintained an open and progressive refugee policy because we know very well that no one chooses to be a refugee.
“People flee because they are running away from insecurity and danger. There is no way we can shut our doors to women, children and men who are desperate, hungry and looking for hope.”
Rugunda added, “But we need enhanced support of the international community to be able to continue shouldering this responsibility.
Speaking at the event, the Vice President of neighbouring South Sudan, James Wani Igga praised Uganda for providing refuge to hundreds of thousands of his countrymen who continue to flee from the unstable political environment in the world’s youngest nation.
Uganda is currently hosting over 950,000 refugees from South Sudan alone. It is also home to 220,000 refugees from DRC, 37,000 from Burundi and other countries.
Praising the “able leadership” of President Yoweri Museveni, Mr Wani said his country was grateful and cognisant for the burden that Uganda was carrying.
“We understand the many challenges faced by our neighbours who accommodate refugees from South Sudan,” he said.
“It is regretful that the agreement on the resolution of conflict in South Sudan is not yielding the desired outcomes.”
He said however, that his country was working hard to address the humanitarian crisis, pointing out for instance that President (Salva) Kiir has issued an order for creation of a humanitarian high level oversight committee, which is ensuring access to relief support and to remove all road blocks and taxes on humanitarian items,” he added.