As thousands of desperate men, women and children flee conflicts and natural disasters in search of a place of refuge, some countries are debating whether to accept or reject asylum seekers. Uganda has opened its doors to refugees in record numbers.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported in early 2018 that there are about 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including 40 million who are internally displaced. And developing countries, mostly in Africa.
According to UNHCR, Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, with over a million refugees, most of them from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Somalia.
The Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hilary Onek said that Uganda’s refugee population has been growing since 2013. “Uganda has continued to maintain an open-door policy to refugees based on traditional African hospitality and not turning away anybody who is running to us for safety,” he said.
Humanitarian experts applaud Uganda’s open-door refugee policy as the most generous in the world. The UN General secretary Antonio said that It is necessary for the international community to recognize that Uganda has had an exemplary refugee policy in the past and even today
He added that Uganda remains a symbol of the integrity of the refugee protection regime that unfortunately is not being respected everywhere in the world.
What Makes Uganda refuge policy special?
Uganda’s refugee policy guarantees freedom of movement and the right to employment, education and health, as well as the right to start a business. The government also provides refugees plots of land so they can farm and construct shelters. It empowers refugees to become economically self-reliant, while granting them the same rights that citizens enjoy.
UNHCR’s Director for Africa, Valentin Tapsoba, said that Uganda’s assistance to refugees is commendable, since they have a progressive policy for hosting refugees. He added that other countries should follow the same model as Uganda.