14th April 2024
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Uganda threatens to shut borders to refugees over funding constraint

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Monday, March 4, 2024

Dzaipi transit centre in northern Uganda, where UNHCR has erected tents for many of the refugees. © UNHCR/F.Noy

The Ugandan government has warned that it may be forced to shut its borders against refugees if the International Community cannot raise fund to cater for the livelihood of those displaced into the country.

This is amid global crisis such as the wars in Ukraine and the Middle East that have overburdened donor governments and prompted cut in humanitarian support.

Uganda’s Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Eng. Hillary Onek said the country is struggling to raise between 800 million US dollars and 1.2 billion dollars to feed the refugees.

Speaking during the handing over of a Japanese food donation to the refugees, Mr. Onek said the country will be left with no choice but to review its open-door policy so that it is not overburdened.

“A small country like Uganda is overstretched. The open-door refugee policy is costing us a lot. If the international community doesn’t come to help and contain the situation, we may become hostile and review the policy,” Onek said, according to Daily Monitor newspaper.

The official further pleaded with Western countries and international well-wishers to extend financial support to the displaced people.

“We feel sorry for the refugees, but it becomes a problem when it is abused. Those countries are obliged to take care of them. Help us feed these people because their needs are not different from yours.”

Uganda is reportedly hosting about 1.6 million refugees, majority of whom are from South Sudan and the rest from Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

In January 2023, UN refugee’s agency UNHCR said there was a multiplicity of needs that have overstretched Refugee Response partners in Uganda.

 

 

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