In the past year, more than 700,000 refugees have sought safety in Uganda, bringing the total number of refugees in the country to over 1.3 million. These refugees bring skills and opportunities to the districts to which they arrive, and can – depending on existing policies and interventions - bring added development to the districts that host them. At the same time, the social, infrastructure and environmental services in the refugee hosting districts need to be strengthened to enable the authorities to meet the increased needs. Hence, there is a need for additional support to the refugees and the communities hosting them; and for comprehensive and sustainable interventions and strategies beyond addressing immediate humanitarian needs.
The New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants and its Comprehensive Refugee Framework (CRRF) adopted at the UN General Assembly in 2016, resolves to ease the pressure on the countries and communities hosting refugees, enhance self-reliance, expand solutions and support conditions in the country of origin. Uganda is implementing its refugee policies in line with the CRRF, within the existing legal framework and ensuring that refugees are included in the National Development Plan through the Settlement Transformative Agenda (STA).
The UN and the WB have developed a joint strategy (ReHoPE) to support the Settlement Transformative Agenda. The CRRF builds on the coordination mechanisms established and the success already achieved, but requires a shift in the mind-set of all actors to ensure a “whole-of-Government” and “whole-of-society” response. The success and challenges in implementing the Comprehensive Refugee Response in focus countries such as Uganda will help inform the Global Compact on Refugees, which will be adopted by the General Assembly in 2018.
- Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, at the Supporting Refugees and their Host Communities in the Horn and East Africa side-event, London, May 10th, 2017.
For over five decades, Uganda has provided asylum to people fleeing war and persecution from many countries, including its neighbours.
Uganda currently hosts over 1.2million refugees. When renewed conflict broke out in South Sudan in July 2016, an unprecedented number of refugees came to Uganda, doubling the refugee population in less than seven months. Uganda has since become the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa. Despite the challenges generated by the new influx from South Sudan, Uganda maintains one of the most progressive approaches to refugee protection. The Government upholds an inclusive approach, granting refugees freedom of movement (out-of-camp policy), the right to seek employment and establish businesses, and access public services such as education, on par with nationals. Owing to this, Uganda is regarded a model for many other refugee-hosting countries.
The CRRF in Uganda addresses four mutually-reinforcing themes: admission and rights; emergency response and ongoing needs; resilience and self-reliance of refugees; and expansion of solutions through resettlement and alternative pathways such as scholarships and work placements abroad. Through the application of CRRF, Uganda seeks to create a more predictable and sustainable approach to refugee management and accelerate the implementation of ReHoPE (Refugee and Host Population Empowerment programme), a national framework for integrated and holistic support to refugees and host populations.
The Refugee Act 2006, which is the legal framework that guides the Government's response to refugees. It can be found here: Link
Refugee and Host Population Empowerment is a transformative strategy and approach to bring together a wide range of partners in a harmonized and cohesive manner to overcome fragmented programming. It is a response to specific challenges faced in developing durable solutions for both refugee and host communities.
Settlement Transformation Agenda (STA)
The STA is a holistic, integrated district-level refugee management approach that includes refugees in national development plans, taking into account the protracted nature of displacement and the impact on host communities. Uganda is a beacon of hope for refugees and, if well supported, can become a model for how sustainable and inclusive investments in social services and in human capital among refugees can help break the cycle of conflict and build peaceful communities.
Settlement Transformation Agenda (STA)
UNDAF, the UN Development Assistance Framework 2016-2020