Home | Press Releases    Wednesday 25 January 2017

More refugees flee to Uganda than across Mediterranean

separation
increase
decrease
separation
separation

January 25, 2017

Uganda welcomed more refugees last year than the total number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean into Europe. “Europe should learn from the way Uganda and other African countries are keeping their borders open as the Refugee Convention prescribes, instead of specializing in barbed wire and walls,” said Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Jan Egeland.

Some 489,000 South Sudanese refugees fled to Uganda in 2016, according to figures from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. Renewed violence in South Sudan in July shattered a fragile ceasefire and forced hundred thousands of people to flee. In addition, a large number of refugees continued to arrive Uganda from DR Congo and Burundi. In comparison, 362,000 people crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in the same period.

“Contrary to common belief, most refugees are not fleeing to Europe. 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,” said Egeland.

The refugee settlement Bidibidi in northern Uganda, set up less than six months ago, is already one of the world’s largest refugee camps. It currently houses over 270,000 South Sudanese, about equal to the whole population of Newcastle in the United Kingdom.

The refugees praise the way the country has welcomed them: “It is good to be in Uganda. They allocated us a piece of land, we have free access to medical services and we feel safe. People were killed in South Sudan. It made me afraid. Here we no longer need to listen to the sound of the guns,” said Mary Kiden (17), who fled South Sudan last year.

However, aid agencies urgently need to scale up humanitarian assistance. Public infrastructure must be improved, more schools built and families provided with basic support, until they are able to make a living for themselves. Last year’s refugee aid response plan for Uganda was only 36 per cent funded. This left families without clean drinking water and children without education.

“Uganda has done what all countries should do. It has provided civilians fleeing war with security, and an opportunity to become a resource, instead of locking the displaced into a situation of aid-dependence and uncertainty,” said Egeland.

He is not surprised to see a low-income country among the largest refugee recipients:

“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 9 out of 10 displaced. Most people fleeing want to stay as close to their home country as possible, wishing to one day be able to return,” Egeland said.

Facts:

  1. Uganda received 489,000 refugees from South Sudan last year, and is currently housing more than 640,000 refugees from South Sudan
  2. In comparison, 362,000 people crossed the Mediterranean into Europe last year
  3. 86 per cent of the South Sudanese refugees in Uganda are women and children
  4. The number of refugees from South Sudan in Uganda is expected increase to 925,000 by the end of 2017
  5. Uganda also hosts refugees from DR Congo, Burundi, Somalia and several other countries
  6. The country has a long history of welcoming people fleeing conflict, and housed thousands of Polish refugees during the Second World War

Contact:

Geno Teofilo, Regional Media Adviser, geno.teofilo@nrc.no, +254 702 910 077

Tiril Skarstein, Media Adviser, tiril.skarstein@nrc.no, +4790569287

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article



The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.


Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis


Darfur, the most ‘successful’ genocide in a century 2017-04-21 23:16:47 By Eric Reeves The Darfur region of western Sudan has been recognized since 2004 as the site of genocide since 2004 by dozens of political officials and bodies (including the U.S. Congress and (...)

Open Letter to AU and IGAD: Festus Mogae be relieved and JMEC disbanded 2017-04-21 23:12:39 By Dak Buoth It is an opportune time for President Festus Mogae, the Chair of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation commission (JMEC) to pack and go back where he came from. And if he so wishes to (...)

The Nile Basin In Transformation: research uptake and what’s at stake? 2017-04-20 14:55:55 Mohamed s. M. Yassin (Ph.D) The Nile basin territories have witnessed huge transformation since prehistoric era and continue to be subjected to enormous transformations. The transformations (...)


MORE






Latest Press Releases


HRW denounces "collective punishment" in South Sudan’s Wau 2017-04-15 07:06:48 Human Right Watch South Sudan: New Spate of Ethnic Killings Urgent Need for Justice; UN Should Increase Patrols in Wau (Nairobi, April 14, 2017) – Government soldiers and allied militias (...)

Statement by South Sudanese Communist Party on the National Dialoguel 2017-03-22 05:44:42 The Communist Party of South Sudan On the Initiative of the National Dialogue The initiative taken by the President of the Republic of South Sudan declaring a need for a national dialogue is an (...)

An Appeal to President of the Republic of South Sudan 2017-03-15 07:22:45 Dear. Mr. President, I write to appeal to you for the release of political detainees now in the custody of the National Security Service at Jebel and other detention facilities. In doing this, I (...)


MORE

Copyright © 2003-2017 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.