Speaking in South Africa, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has criticized the international community for failing to make good on their financial contribution to support refugees in Uganda as they had pledged during the Kampala Solidarity Summit on Refugees between 21st and 22nd June 2017.

Addressing the 10th Conference of Speakers of African Parliaments and Senates at the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa on Tuesday, 6 August 2019, Kadaga said that of the US$15million that was projected to be collected at the summit, only US$540,000 was realized.

“We had a solidarity summit in Uganda with all the world’s big names and leaders from the biggest economies but it was quite shocking when such leaders pledged very little sums of money and later even failed to fulfill these pledges,” she said.

Uganda, being the second World’s biggest refugee hosting country and the first in Africa, was selected to host the refugee summit attended by world leaders and technocrats, including the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Antonio Guterres..

Host countries continue to shoulder the responsibility of and facilitating the refugees’ access to basic needs. However, this strains the resources and diminishes the resilience of the hosts.

“Settling of refugees comes with a cost to our people because there is a lot of pressure on the local population to share facilities. In one of our districts of Adjumani, 50 per cent of the population is made up of refugees and so there is pressure on water, schools, health facilities and the environment and this is very costly to the Uganda government,” Kadaga said.

Speaker Kadaga requested the UNHCR to build permanent structures to accommodate health centres and schools in the refugee settlements as a stop gap to support host communities that have genuinely co-existed with refugees in the event that they leave.

Kadaga also proposed that for refugee host countries, there should be inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms to bring together the government, international, local and civil society organisations to address the refugee issue from a wider perspective.

“I want to confirm that refugees living in Uganda are not in the camps but settlements which gives them freedom of movement, access to social service and employment,” Kadaga told the Speakers.

The two-day Speaker’s conference was held under the theme, “Finding durable solutions to forced migration to accelerate integration and development in Africa.

 

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