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South Sudan, DRC Asked Fund Uganda’s Refugee Response

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Over 60% of refugees in Uganda are from South Sudan

The government of Uganda is calling on the governments of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to contribute towards the support of refugees’ welfare in Uganda.

The Ugandan Daily Monitor on Monday reported that Uganda’s State Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness, and Refugees Esther Anyakun Davina asked for humanitarian support from South Sudan and DRC saying Uganda is taking the burden of hosting refugees from the two countries yet the two countries do not contribute support their people.

According to the minister, by the end of February, Uganda had a total of 1,595,405 refugees, of whom 964,960 were from South Sudan. The number has since grown, with more than 35,000 new arrivals in March and April from DRC.

Minister Anyakun was quoted as saying that it was time for the countries whose citizens have been forced to flee to Uganda to start supporting them. She was speaking at a meeting with the steering group of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) on Wednesday in Kampala. 

“South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo must begin to mobilize resources and send them to Uganda, because it is us who are keeping, feeding, and hosting these refugees. It is us Uganda doing everything, so these countries must start mobilizing resources and send it to Uganda for refugee response,” she said. 

She further said that Uganda’s open-door refugee policy is being exploited by neighboring countries whom she said have failed to secure their citizens’ lives.

“Something must be done and it has to be taken to another level in terms of engagement and in terms of resources mobilization because we are not going to be strained,” she warned.

South Sudan and DRC have experienced years of conflict due to political differences, forcing thousands to seek refuge in Uganda and other neighboring countries.

The ministry said a recent refugee influx from DRC was caused by fighting between M23 and government forces. 

According to the Daily Monitor, the minister said while the international focus is now on Ukraine, the regional countries must take responsibility for their refugees.

“Uganda has fulfilled all the pledges it made, donors have fulfilled all the pledges they made, but the current emergency issue is beyond our capacity. That’s why I am asking the governments from other countries to start mobilizing resources and send them to Uganda so that we can help them because all donors are now looking at the war in Ukraine,” she said.

She further called for regional efforts to engage the governments to resolve their conflicts through dialogue. 

For her part, Ms. Brigitte Eno, the UNHCR deputy representative to Uganda was quoted as saying that the regional approach to conflict resolution in East Africa is a welcome idea and that the UN body will support and facilitate discussion to find a lasting solution to armed conflicts in the region.

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