Allow Refugees Work In Host Countries, Says OECD Report

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Uganda has over the years been voted a top destination for refugees. Studies last year, found that just 1 of the refugees living in rural Ugandan settlements depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and that many operate their own businesses and even employ Ugandans.

A new study by Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says it is critical to promote self-reliance among refugees by allowing them work and earn income to their basic needs.  The study, which made comparison between refugee conditions in Uganda and Ethiopia, was aimed at strengthening the evidence base to help improve future responses to refugee crises in developing countries. 



The report released by the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) members this week, says the increasing the number of refugees and displaced people worldwide is straining the humanitarian system. It says in that context, it is necessary to create a future where the forcibly displaced are less reliant on humanitarian assistance. The Committee observed that many countries continue to restrict refugees' freedom of movement, free choice of residence and the right to work. 



It adds that the ability of refugees to become self-reliant in countries of asylum is closely related to whether they are in an environment that enables their economic inclusion in the host society; access to the labor market and productive assets. The study observed that in many countries there are legal and socio-economic factors and administrative burdens that restrict or prevent refugee's access to the labor market. 




Some evaluations have questioned if donors have sufficiently invested in supporting longer-term strategies for refugee livelihoods in Ethiopia and Uganda and if they have done enough diplomatically to encourage host governments to promote refugees' ability to access formal employment. The study found that refugees have faced more restrictions in Ethiopia than in Uganda including more limited opportunities to access work and create their own businesses. In the past, this has led to greater reliance on humanitarian assistance, with refugees unable to work legally in the formal sector or to integrate locally.  



That according to the study is changing and the Ethiopian government is increasingly working to promote job opportunities for refugees with support from international donors through the new Compact model. The study found that in Uganda, refugees have traditionally benefited from a conducive legal framework that grants rights and access to land to refugees, with refugees engaging in business opportunities that benefit local communities, allow for their greater self-reliance and contribute to Uganda's economy. 


Uganda has over the years been voted a top destination for refugees. Studies last year, found that just 1% of the refugees living in rural Ugandan settlements depend entirely on humanitarian assistance and that many operate their own businesses and even employ Ugandans. In Kampala, an estimated 1 in 5 refugees employs non-family members, and roughly 40% of those employed by refugees are Ugandans.


On 24 March 2017, the government of Uganda and UNHCR officially launched the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework for Uganda providing formal evidence to development partners of how the national strategy known as the Settlement Transformative Agenda already contains the principles and objectives set out in the New York Declaration. 


The New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 19 September 2016, and the "commitment of UN Member States to apply a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in the event of significant or large-scale movements of people seeking inter­national protection, as well as protracted refugee situations. The framework includes "measures to support the impact on host countries, including host communities and refugees' timely access to solutions.