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Activist urges protection of S. Sudanese refugees in Uganda

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South Sudanese refugees at Nyumanzi settlement camp in Adjumani (Getty Image)

January 12, 2021 (JUBA/KAMPALA) – A South Sudanese activist has urged political parties and citizens in Uganda to honour the principle of non-violent elections for the sake of maintaining peace and stability.

Uganda, which hosts the biggest population of refugees from the region, is expected to hold its national general elections on January 14.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, Edmund Yakani, the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation (CEPO), said the protection of refugees in the face of the Ugandan national elections is essential as a principle of non-violence and the responsibility to protect.

“Refugee’s camps should be treated as non-partisan entities by all Uganda political actors being the government, political parties and citizens. All human rights values for people during the electoral process situation should be applied to the refugees in Uganda from various neighbouring countries,” partly reads the statement.

Uganda is currently hosting over 1,400,000 refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 11 settlement camps.

The activist advised refugees to distance themselves from politics, arguing that some political parties may use refugees for political gains.

“Refugees require to remember that they have the obligation to avoid all form of political engagement around Uganda national general elections. UNCHR [United Nations refugee agency] is expected to be pro-active in informing the refugees about their responsibilities to safeguard their safety and protection in the face of the Uganda national general elections,” stressed Yakani.

Meanwhile, the activist appealed to all accredited institutions observing the Ugandan general elections to turn their eye on matters of refugee safety and protection during the elections.

“It is essential to be concern about refugees who are caught up in the face of Uganda national political elections,” he said.

Uganda witnessed the worst forms of violence in its history during this year’s campaign period.

(ST)

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