Refugee Response to Improve After Verification – Partners

1333 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Office of the Prime Minister explains that 158,000 of the refugees initially on record are in unknown places, 34,000 are reported to have returned home, and 9,000 registered more than once. Another 3,000 were reported as deceased, 1,400 were Ugandans registered as refugees, and 55,000 are living in urban centers, away from the camps.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has said that refugees will now be able to get better services after the biometric verification exercise that confirmed that Uganda is hosting 1.1 million of them.

The Government of Uganda, UNHCR and World Food Program (WFP) embarked on a biometric verification exercise with aim to validate and update the total number of refugees in Uganda following concerns that the numbers were inflated, and that the refugee response was characterized by gross mismanagement, fraud, theft of relief items and misuse of land.

Although initially, the number of refugees was reported at 1.4 million, the recent verification found that the exact figure was 1.1 million by end of October, a difference of 352,000 people.

The Office of the Prime Minister explains that 158,000 of the refugees initially on record are in unknown places, 34,000 are reported to have returned home, and 9,000 registered more than once. Another 3,000 were reported as deceased, 1,400 were Ugandans registered as refugees, and 55,000 are living in urban centers, away from the camps.

Joel Boutroue, the UNHCR Country representative says that the partners will now be very efficient since they now have an up-to-date database that cannot be manipulated. He says that the system now enables better tracking of refugees to ensure that they are all covered in the service provision.

He adds that funding will also be enhanced as issues of conflicting figures will not arise.
 
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The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Eng. Hillary Onek says the verification now paves way for more focused and targeted assistance, based on reliable data. He added that even the new arrivals are captured into the data system as soon as they enter the country adding that the world should now live to its promises to relieve Uganda.
 
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Uganda is praised for its progressive refugee hosting policy, where refugees are given land compared to keeping them in camps. They are given plots of land for agricultural use and achieve self-reliance.  

 

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.