Refugees seek Uganda's intervention for peace in South Sudan

Left-Right: Mr Mathew Crentsil, Ms Lilian Aber and Mr Takaya Sasayama, the Japan Ambassador to Uganda during the refugees day. PHOTO/CLEMENT ALUMA

What you need to know:

  • Uganda and other IGAD members have been holding discussions with warring factions fighting in South Sudan to find lasting solution to peace in South Sudan. 

South Sudan refugees seeking asylum in Uganda have called on African nations to help and prevail on warring parties in their country for peace to return.

During the occasion to mark the World refugee day at Rhino Camp settlement in Terego district on June 20, several speakers said dialogue will be a lasting solution to bring peace in their country.

Mr Peter Gift, the refugee welfare council III officer said: “We urge the government of this country to continue engaging different parties to bring peace and stability in our country so that people can go back home because home is home. Peace is the solution not funding.”

He urged Ugandan government to continue with her open door policy of receiving refugees who are fleeing from different locations.

Uganda and other IGAD members have been holding discussions with warring factions fighting in South Sudan to find lasting solution to peace in South Sudan. 

The latest statistics from UNHCR indicates that the refugee population in Uganda has reached 1,680,000 and it continues to grow due to ongoing persecution, conflicts and communal violence and the conflict in Khartoum in Sudan. Majority of the refugees are from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia.

The Country representative of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr Mathew Crentsil, said the UN has been trying all it takes to broker peace among conflicting parties in South Sudan.

“We are involved in advising on the situation in the country of origin as well as the host countries to contribute towards ensuring peace in the country of origin but this is within the armpits of the UN secretary general and his envoys,” Mr Crentsil said.  

The minister of state for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees Ms Lilian Aber, said Uganda is committed to fulfilling her obligations of being a home to the refugees.

“We are happy to extend services to the refugees across the board. The only problem we have is that we are telling the donors please, increase funding, Let us not reduce funding for feeding refugees, let us increase funding and see how to capitalize on livelihood for people to start surviving on,” Ms Aber said.

This year, UNHCR and partners appealed for $858 million and only 13 per cent of the required funds have been so far been received, leaving 1.68 million forcibly displaced persons, predominantly women and children and 2.7 million host community members at risk of becoming increasingly vulnerable as access to medical, livelihood, other services and food assistance is being reduced. 

As part of assistance to the refugees, several projects like Development Response to Displacement Impact Projects (DRDIP), were initiated by Uganda government and other African Countries with funding from World Bank to assist refugees in construction of schools, health centers and environment in refugees host districts.