Prime Minister Rt. Hon Ruhakana Rugunda has applauded Makerere, Boston and Beirut Universities for coming on board to address the issue of refugees in Uganda.
The three universities are working on a joint project to find the real causes of refugees and provide remedies.
The students and administrators from three institutions had a meeting with the Rugunda at his office.
“The opening up of the universities to take up contemporary issues seriously is something that I deeply cherish. I am pleased that Makerere university is now sparing substantial amount of time deepening their understanding on the issue of refugees,” Rugunda said
He added that refugees are people who don’t have a voice and thus need support.
“These people in this situation require to be supported. Often refugees don’t have a voice. They are in somebody else’s country. They don’t understand the systems. They may even not know the language. If there is anybody that needs to be supported it is a refugee”
He appreciated the three universities for striking a partnership to address the matter.
Rugunda revealed that he was personally a refugee during his 4th year at Makerere University Medical School when former president Idi Amin clashed with some students which put their lives including his in danger and ended up in Zambia as a refugee where he finished his medical degree.
“Thanks to United Nations High commission for refugees (UNHCR) because they paid my fees at the university of Zambia”
Rugunda said Uganda today hosts over 1.2 million refugees because 20 to 30 years ago it was exporting large numbers of refugees to the neighbouring countries including Sudan and DRC.
“We are looking at South Sudanese refugees now but yesterday it was Ugandan refugees,” he added
Rugunda went on to applaud education institutions in Uganda that have taken up refugees and given them placements.
Rugunda also hailed President Yoweri Museveni, UN secretary general Antonio Gutteres and Philip Grant the UNHCR high commissioner, who held a meeting and some money was collected to support the refugee cause”
He also revealed that here in Uganda some of the factories, petrol stations, hotels, plantations are owned by refugees especially those who have been here for a long time or those who had the benefit to get education.
“The country has been flexible and enabled those who may wish to study and do business to do so and they have done well. Let’s endeavor to get the root cause of refugees and deal with it and treat refugees humanly respecting their fundamental rights and providing essential basic services that will enable them to grow as normal respectable human beings and make a contribution to the their host and home countries”