NGO's Call For Appropriate Funding Towards Refugee Support

1266 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Non Governmental Organisations NGOs have called on international donors to provide appropriate funding towards the refugee assistance in Uganda after biometric verification confirmed that Uganda hosts 1.1 million refugees.

Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have called on international donors to provide appropriate funding towards refugee assistance in Uganda after biometric verification confirmed that Uganda hosts 1.1 million refugees.

The over 19 NGOs have called on international donors to share responsibility and increase funding after one of the biggest biometric verification processes ever undertaken confirmed that Uganda hosts 1.1 million refugees, by far the largest number in Africa and the third largest worldwide. 

Among the NGOs that called for increased funding include; Action Against Hunger, Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), BRAC, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Danish Refugee Council, Finn Church Aid, Finnish Refugee Council and Food for the Hungry among others

In a press statement, the NGOs say that with the scale of the refugee crisis now confirmed, the international community should ensure the response is appropriately funded, adding that as the end of the year approaches, the 2018 response plan has received just 42% of the required funds.

Since March 2018, the government and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees  (UNHCR) embarked on a biometric verification exercise aimed at validating and updating the total number of refugees in Uganda. 

The process came following concerns of fraud arising from inflated figures of refugees of up to 1.5m. This follows a report from UNHCR on incidences of gross mismanagement, fraud including theft of relief items and misuse of land meant for refugees and among others. This led to the interdiction of four officers including the commissioner for refugees, Apollo Kazungu.

The NGOs however say the newly verified figure is a new ray of hope for refugees.
"This process has been essential to confirm numbers, which are lower than previously reported, and must be the start of a renewed long-term commitment to provide an adequate and well targeted response to the largely unmet needs of refugees and their host communities," the statement reads. 

It further notes that they look  forward to a consolidated and unified refugee database that will support protection, identity management, well-targeted provision of assistance, and awareness of accurate population statistics. 

"The support from donors so far is welcome and has helped save lives and provide services; but is falling far short of what is needed. The international community has not kept its own commitments made in the 2016 New York Declaration to share the responsibility and provide enough funding." It further states.

They also call for strict accountability measures on the refugee response. "We recognise and echo donor calls for accountability and are committed to measures that prevent and combat all types of wrongful conduct, including fraud, corruption and Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. However, continued failure to provide funding will lead to a further decrease in assistance for refugees".

They also note that Uganda's refugee policy is held up worldwide as a good example, but this could end up badly without financial support noting that Uganda is a test case for refugee response which should not be allowed to fail.

" Failure to support refugees and host communities here will jeopardize the credibility of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the forthcoming Global Compact on Refugees.

The NGOs also say the international community should recognise the verification exercise as the first step in committing to ensure a fully comprehensive and effective response to the refugee influx in Uganda.

Uganda hosts mostly refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo whose are unstable due to civil war.


About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.