European countries should learn from the way Uganda and other African countries are keeping their borders open asstipulated by the Refugee Convention, the Norwegian Refugee Council has said.
In 2016 alone, Uganda more refugees than the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Europe.
489,000 South Sudanese refugees fled to Uganda after renewed violence erupted in Juba in July, according to the UNHCR estimates.
In total, it’s currently housing more than 640,000 refugees from South Sudan, majority of whom are in Bidi Bidi settlement. In addition, a large number of refugees continued to arrive from DR Congo and Burundi.
“Contrary to common belief, most refugees are not fleeing to Europe,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.
It says 362,000 people crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in the same year.
“The reality is that more refugees sought safety in Uganda per day at the end of 2016, than many wealthy European countries received the entire year,” Egeland continued.
Recently, UNHCR raised concerns that refugees and migrants at risk of dying in the severe cold weather sweeping across Europe are being moved back over borders and subjected to violence and confiscations. It called on governments to do more to help.
Terror attacks across Europe have sparked a new push to see illegal immigrants sent home from Italy as the police are told to toughen up on refugees in 2017.
Countries such as Germany, Hungary, and Italy, just to mention a few, have begun to combat influx of refugees mainly from the Middle East and Africa.
In Italy, a 2-page directive has reportedly been sent out to police stations across the country ordering officers to increase efforts to deport economic migrants, mainly from Africa.
It will reportedly open 16 detention centers for migrants under new rules where those detained will stay until deportation can be arranged.
Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently faced fresh questions about her open-door migration policy.
Critics continue to tear into her open borders policy in light of the Berlin terror attack in December 2016.
In Hungary, country’s leaders, who have consistently attempted to clamp down on the influx with methods including building two walls, are pushing for more protection of external borders and demanding asylum requests should be carried out outside the European Union.
“Populist politicians are stirring up fear, creating a distorted picture of all refugees wanting to head towards Europe or North America. This could not be further from the truth. Low- and mid-income countries are housing nine out of ten displaced,” Egeland said.
“Most people fleeing want to stay as close to their home country as possible, wishing to one day be able to return.”
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