UNHCR's Grandi Appeals for Peace in Great Lakes

2134 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Grandi however, notes that although Uganda has been able to demonstrate that refugees can live within host communities and be allowed to cultivate their own food, such support could over stretch services among host communities. He notes that the patience of local communities should not overly be tested but should be made to benefit from refugee presence in their areas.

The head of the UN Refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, says regional leaders should push for peace in order to end the refugee crisis.  The conflicts in DRC, South Sudan and Burundi among others have been blamed for causing the refugees crisis. 

There are close to 2.5 million South Sudanese refugees in six asylum countries including the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan and Uganda. Uganda is home to 1.4 million refugees from DRC, South Sudan, Rwanda and Burundi among others. 

Grandi notes that the refugee problem could drastically reduce when the region is peaceful.  Grandi, who is on an official visit to Uganda, also praised the country's open boarder policy that has seen thousands of refugees hosted closer to communities in different parts of the country. Uganda according to Grandi, is now receiving an average of five hundred refugees fleeing from conflicts in DRC and South Sudan.



"I want to thank the Ugandan government, local government and its people… despite recent influxes Uganda has the most progressive refugee policies in Africa, if not the world," said Grandi who has been visiting Invempi refugee camp in Arua district.  He said Uganda has been able to allow in a big number of refugees as well as provide them with protection, mix freely, work and access basic services. 




Grandi however, notes that although Uganda has been able to demonstrate that refugees can live within host communities and be allowed to cultivate their own food, such support could over stretch services among host communities. He notes that the patience of local communities should not overly be tested but should be made to benefit from refugee presence in their areas. 



A number of host Community leaders in Hoima, Arua and Kisoro districts have in the past complained that the influx of refugees to their area tend to over stretch available social services. Refugees are given land, allowed to work, own businesses and move freely. They are also integrated into government services like health care and education. Grandi says a "Win-Win" environment should be created hosting communities and refugees.  




Grandi's visit in Uganda is partly part of the effort to rally for support towards Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. Uganda is among the countries championing the "whole of society" approach towards refugees also known as the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.
 

As part of the follow up to the 2016 New York Declaration, the High Commissioner for Refugees will propose a Global Compact on Refugees in his annual report to the General Assembly in 2018. On September 19, 2016, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a landmark political declaration that is directed at improving the way in which, the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants, as well as to protracted refugee situations. 


The New York Declaration sets out a Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), with specific actions needed to ease pressure on host countries, enhance refugee self-reliance, expand access to third-country solutions, and support conditions in countries of origin for return in safety and dignity. 


It calls upon UNHCR to apply the framework to particular situations, in close coordination with relevant States and involving other United Nations agencies and stakeholders, and to assess its impact with a view to refining it further. On the basis of this work, the High Commissioner for Refugees was requested to propose a 'global compact on refugees' in his annual report to the General Assembly in 2018, to be considered by the Assembly at its seventy-third session.




UNHCR is this February expected to prepare a draft of the Global Compact on Refugees. Formal consultation with Member States and other relevant stakeholders is also expected to commence. He already met Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda in Kampala before heading to West Nile.