Uganda is currently hosting 183,000 refugees. This makes it the country with the most refugees in the region.
This was revealed on Wednesday during the World Refugee Day commemoration at Old Kampala playgrounds. The refugees are mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Burundi and Central African Republic and Pakistan. The theme of the occasion was ONE FAMILY TORN A PART BY WAR IS TOO MANY.
Minister for disaster, relief and refugee Dr. Steven Malinga said most of the refugees in Uganda are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Malinga called on the international community to mobilize resources for Uganda to meet the protection needs of refugees. He said the land reserved for refugees has been encroached on by a group of local people who claim that it is theirs in areas of Nakivale and Rwamwanje.
"Our settlement policy has met challenges, land meant for refugees' use has been encroached on which has affected our effort," Malinga said.
He suggested a naturalization policy for the refugees who have stayed in Uganda since 1960s who have even lost sense of origin and touch with their families. Malinga said this could be the only solution to the challenge of protracted refugee caseload.
Malinga condemned the police against what he called unnecessary arrest of refugees in Uganda following outcries by some of their representatives saying on several occasions police have been arresting them when they have asked for direction.
The commissioner for refugees in the office of the Prime minister David Apollo Kazungu advised them to always move along with their identity cards. He said the government and other development agencies have gone ahead to look into the biometric systems in order to start issuing identity cards to the refugees.
Meanwhile Kazungu reported that on a daily basis for the last three days, Uganda has been receiving about 500 refugees from (DRC). The settlements in Uganda are hosting 5 people per household which has brought the total families there to 37000 refugee families.
Kazungu explained that at least 4000 plus refugees are already in the urban centres across the country which he termed as a concern to the government.
According to Kazungu a technical team has been put in place to find out how much of the basic requirements they need.
"This team will help us on how to address the challenges "Kazungu said. Kazungu urged the public to coexist with the refugees harmoniously saying becoming a refugee is not by choice but fate.