Uganda, UN solidarity summit for refugees scheduled for May


The government has commenced preparations for the high level solidarity conference that is expected to attract dignitaries from key international organisations in an attempt to drum up support and mobilise resources for thousands of refugees the country is hosting.

The ‘refugee solidarity’ conference was mooted in January during the meeting between President Museveni and the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, at the sidelines of 28th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The two sides were quoted to have first scheduled the conference for this month (March) but afterwards both went silent on the matter.
Diplomatic sources, however, told Daily Monitor that government was still waiting for confirmation from the UN Secretariat in New York and a date that would be suitable.

After several back and forth engagements, sources added, the UN has now zeroed in on mid-May but the actual dates are still in works.
The ministry of Foreign Affairs and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) are said to be the key principles in charge but sources hinted on ongoing plans to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to oversee the organisation.

The commissioner for refugees in OPM, Mr Apollo Kazungu, who is said to be in charge, was not readily available for comment as his known phone number remained switched off.

During separate meetings in Addis Ababa with Mr Gutteres and the UK Secretary of State for International Development Priti Patel, President Museveni, descried the shortage of logistical and financial resources government is grappling with, although could not hinder taking in of more refugees.

Uganda is currently ranked as the second-largest refugee hosting country in the world after Turkey with a refugee population nearing one million. The World Food Programme puts the monthly food requirement for the refugees to at least $12m (Shs42b).

The UN agency for refugees in Kampala, in a recent statement, indicated that last year they received only 40 percent of the $251m (Shs889b) requested for humanitarian assistance and this year they will need about $558m (Shs2t).

According to UNHRC, the country received more than half a million new refugees from South Sudan since fighting broke out in the youngest nation of the world in 2013 and most recently at least 1,367 have been arriving every day in wake of the ongoing crisis.

Another 215,309 arrived from DR Congo last year; 38, 176 from Somalia; 40,874 from Burundi; 11,328 from Eritrea; 3,103 from Sudan; 2,790 from Ethiopia, and 1,034 listed in the ‘others’ category.

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