Refugee shoots police officer on duty

By Robert Segawa

The Inspector General of police Okoth Martin Ochola has instructed the focal police officer on refugee Project to intensify vigilance lessons to all refugees in Uganda. This follows an incident that where a South Sudanese refugee identified as Abdul Abubakari allegedly grabbed a gun from a female officer PC Masuduyi Scovia and shot the Officer in charge of Palorinya Base Camp, ASP Ian Natukunda over the weekend.

Fred Enanga the police spokesperson says that the inspector general of Police Okoth Ochola condemns such acts of violence from the refugees in Uganda and he directed the focal police officer in charge of refugees to ensure that all refugees remain vigilant and law abiding in their camps.

Fred Enanga noted that there police Officer ASP Ian Natukunda is steadily recovering from Nakasero treatment where he is receiving treatment even though his lungs and ribs were injured by the bullets.

He adds that they have preferred three charges to the South Sudanese refugee Abdul Abubakari which include attempted murder, theft of a gun and threatening of the police officer.

Refugee asks court to remand him to Luzira

By Sania Babirye
A 37 year old Congolese Refuge has thrown court into laughter after he asked court to remand him to Luzira prison on charges of intentionally destroying a glass wall belonging to the East African Development Bank in Nakasero.

Matakala Chris also known as Abel Kawalya a resident of Kiwatule was arraigned before Buganda road court grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu and had the charge red to him.

He instantly accepted the said charge but informed court that he was forced to destroy the bank glass wall because of his missing papers that police had confiscated from him.

He however did not give court any chance to asks him if he should be given a non custodial sentence for not wasting courts time by accepting the charge and asked court that he wanted to be sent on remand at Luzira prison until police returned his mysterious documents.

This forced grade one magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu to wonder if Matakala was of sound mine since he was talking like he was mad.

He allegedly committed the offense on the 25th of this month .

PAN African Parliament hails Uganda on refugees

By Edwin Muhumuza

The Pan African Parliament has commended Uganda for its progressive policies in the management of refugees. Uganda’s open door policy to asylum seekers was lauded as one of the most generous in the world because it grants refugees relative freedom of movement, the right to seek employment and also accords migrants land for farming.

“For several decades, Uganda has been generously hosting refugees and asylum seekers from the conflict-affected countries in its neighborhood, especially the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Rwanda, and Burundi,” Hon. Jacquiline Amongin told legislators adding that “Since achieving its independence in 1962, Uganda has been hosting an average of approximately 161,000 refugees per year.”

Amongin informed MPs that working with UNHCR the government of Uganda has included refugee issues in its national development planning as part of the National Development Plan II. This as the continent’s legislators, attending Committee meetings in Midrand, South Africa, discussing the African Union theme of the year 2019: “Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards durable solutions to forced displacement in Africa.”

George Kuchio of the UNHCR who made a presentation on Migrants, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons: an outlook on the current situation in Africa, said Uganda’s efforts were worthy emulating and urged regional bodies such as the Pan African Parliament, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), East African Community and the African Union to rethink how they can address the challenge of refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa.

“Uganda is an example that will show us that if you leave refugees outside the camp, you do not have a problem at all,” Kuchio said. He cited South Africa, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Swaziland as some good examples on the continent that were making commendable strides in managing refugees.

Hon. Babirye Kadogo (Uganda) suggested that the continental parliament should concern itself more with the solution to the refugee problem since it was evident that there is a lot of burden refugees put to host countries and communities.

Africa presently hosts the largest number of displaced persons within the continent and worldwide and as a way to mitigating the problem, the MPs argue that there is need to urgently address youth unemployment while developing policies that will curb poverty and ensure equitable distribution, utilization of natural resources and management of conflict.

Hon. Mc Henry Venaani, the Chairperson of the Committee on Trade, Customs and Immigration Matters said “The search for durable and sustainable solutions to forced displacement constitutes an important task to all of us. There is an urgent need to work with African states and various partners to further enhance national capacities to fulfil and implement responsibilities towards sustainable solutions to forced migration on the continent.”

He said MPs, as representatives of the people, have a cardinal duty to ensure that refugees are protected in law and practice. He urged parliamentarians to persuade their governments to undertake measures to ensure refugees’ rights are protected and tha they are accepted by the community.

Hon. Sidia Jatta (Gambia) said it’s an indictment on Africa that even after attaining independence, people are leaving the continent in search of better life elsewhere. He asked MPs to concentrate on the role PAP can do to address the problems confronting the continent.

Poor toilet habits posing sanitation challenges in Lamwo refugee settlement

Palabek Ogili Refugee Settlement in Lamwo district is struggling to promote sanitation and hygiene among South Sudan refugees in the area. The settlement is now home to an estimated 25,000 refugees who fled conflict in Pajok and other parts of South Sudan.

Families already resettled on allocated pieces of land have been given up to August to construct a three meter deep pit latrine among other sanitary facilities on their plots.

Robert Ochan, the camp chairman Palabek Ogili Refugee Settlement decried inadequate water supply in some areas and poor toilet habits among residents. He says that although sanitation is being promoted at household level due to logistical challenges related to management of community pit latrines, many households are facing challenges in building their own facilities.

Aldo Langoya, one of the leaders in the settlement is says that in addition to having functional pit latrines and kitchen drying racks, all households are expected to practice hand washing and proper refuse management.

Robert Ochan, the camp chairman says promoting sanitation and hygiene among Lutugu ethnic group is particularly challenging due to their cultural belief that sharing a pit latrine with male members of a family is a taboo.

Lutheran World Federation (LWF), one of the many charity organizations promoting sanitation in the settlement has distributed construction materials which include plastic toilet slabs, hand washing facilities, poles and roofing materials to households that have been allocated pieces of land for settlement.




Food rations for refugees reduced to half due to funding

Government and Humanitarian agencies are reducing by half, food rations and cash assistance for refugees that arrived in Uganda prior to July 2015. The decision will affect around 200,000 refugees.

The decision comes at the backdrop of low levels of funding, together with a large number of new arrivals fleeing to Uganda from South Sudan since 7 July, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

However, refugees who arrived in Uganda after July 2015, as well as those who have been identified as particularly vulnerable, such as the elderly, orphans, the chronically ill, and those in need of treatment for malnutrition, will continue to receive a full ration.

Refugees receiving full rations are provided with 2,122 calories of food per person per day, in line with the minimum recommended daily allowance, during their first year, decreasing as they become increasingly self-reliant during their time in Uganda. Other refugees receive cash assistance in place of food rations, which also provides them with the opportunity to exercise greater personal choice.

“People are fleeing because they are afraid for their lives. Our communities are welcoming them and giving them what we can: land and hope for a better future. But our message to the international community is this: we need your help to meet their basic needs until they are able to stand on their own two feet.” David Apollo Kazungu, a commissioner in the Office of the Prime Minister says.

The World Food Program-WFP requires approximately 7 million US Dollars every month to provide life-saving food assistance to refugees in Uganda. Despite the generous support of donors, the humanitarian response requires an additional 20million US Dollars to restore full food rations to refugees for the rest of the year.

“We have done everything we can to avoid this, but we have been left with no option but to reduce food assistance for many of the refugees in Uganda, in order to stretch available resources and prioritize the most vulnerable new arrivals,” said Mike Sackett, WFP’s acting Country Director for Uganda.

He added that; “We hope that this is temporary, and we are working as hard as we can to raise the resources needed to restore the full level of food assistance for as many refugees as possible.”

The humanitarian response to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda was already severely underfunded before the outbreak of violence in Juba on 8 July, which has since prompted more than 70,000 people to cross the border in to Uganda.

OPM and UNHCR lead and co-coordinate the response to the roughly 600,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda, and collaborate together with the World Food Programme to provide new arrivals with life-saving food assistance.

By the end of 2015, Uganda was the third-largest refugee hosting country in Africa and the eighth-largest refugee hosting country in the world.