Uganda has accused western countries of fuelling conflicts in some African countries which has in turn resulted in many people becoming internally displaced and others fleeing their countries in search for refuge.
Speaking to reporters about today’s World Refugee Day at Uganda Media Center on Friday, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hon Hilary Onek accused western countries of fuelling conflicts in some mineral rich countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) targeting minerals.
“First of all let me let you know that the refugee situation is not our problem because these are International problems. When they (Refugees) have conflicts in their countries, who are responsible for creating those conflicts. In Congo there is struggle for those minerals and mostly the western countries are culprits. They create conflicts where they know they can loot. That’s what is going on,” said Onek.
For the situation in South Sudan that has forced many South Sudanese to run to Uganda for refuge, Onek said the Arab world is partly responsible.
“So they will want to create turmoil there and they are doing so very successfully and that is why the influx of refugees are coming to Uganda because of that confusion which are internationally created,” he added.
Uganda is currently hosting 1,424,373 refugees from 31 nations as of May 2020 which is the largest refugee population the country has ever hosted.
“Uganda as a country holds special place on the world stage when it comes to refugees. It is currently hosting 1,424,373 refugees as of May 2020 from 31 nationalities making it the largest population ever in its history with 65% of them coming from South Sudan, 30% from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and 3.5% from Burundi,” said Onek.
Onek was speaking to the scribes about the upcoming World Refugee Day which is celebrated every June 20th.
The day marks the celebration of the signing of the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and is held to show solidarity with those who have been displaced and to honor their resilience and determination to keep their families safe.
The day is also marked to draw public attention to the millions of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) worldwide who have been forced out of their homes due to wars, conflicts, persecution, human and natural disasters.
“We recognize the resilience that brings refugees to our doorsteps in desperate situations, usually traumatized by harrowing experiences before and during their journeys,” he said.
Uganda’s refugee open door policy and other policies favouring refugees such as right to education and healthcare are acclaimed globally.
Despite the COVID-19 crisis where 872 refugees have been quarantined from various settlements in the country with 44 testing positive for COVID-19, Onek said efforts are being put to ensure there is continuous delivery of critical services such as food, health among others.
“Isolation centres and quarantine spaces have been reactivated in all our refugee settlements to manage any suspected COVID-19. The Ministry of Health, the Office of the Prime Minister and District COVID-19 taskforce teams have initiated mechanisms to detect any likely occurence of Coronavirus among refugees.”
This year’s World Refugee Day will be commemorated under the theme, “everyone can make a difference, every action counts.”
Photo: Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Hilary Onek speaking to reporters at Uganda Media Center on Friday.