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EU Pledges Continued Support For Refugees And Host Communities

The European Union (EU) has pledged to continue addressing the needs of refugees and hosting communities in Uganda.

Jan Sadek, the ambassador of the European Union to Uganda said during the launch of the EU photo exhibition held at Makerere University aimed at highlighting stories of resilience and success among the refugee and host communities residing together in Uganda.

Uganda hosts 1.5 million refugees from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda and other countries. Its open-door refugee policy is considered progressive and inspiring to other countries around the world.

Sadek said since 2016, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations has availed €250 million (about Shs 945 billion) to support the delivery of humanitarian assistance across sectors. The EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) in Uganda has committed €82 million (about Shs 310 billion) towards government programs supporting both refugees and host communities.

“This exhibition is dedicated to all refugees and the generous host communities and celebrates the connection strength and coverage shared. The photos give me an insight for the resilience and strength of these communities, and indeed the illegal selection of positive images or a mirror of the government of Uganda’s progressive open door policy,” he said.

“The refugee response in Uganda faces both challenges. These include climate change, demographic pressures, and environmental issues all affecting the lives of both refugees and host communities. With the EU trust fund, we aim to equip refugees and host communities with essential tools for actions that develop job skills and livelihoods, as you will have seen captured in some of the photos presented in today’s photo exhibition,” he said.

“We support access to services such as strengthening local governance, education and water. And this includes targeted intervention to combat increased environmental and ecosystem degradation,” he said.

Innocent Ndahiriwe, head of refugee integration and legal matters at the department of refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister said Uganda has received EU funding right from emergency through to refugee settlements and ensuring peaceful coexistence by supporting diverse communities and without EU,  Uganda would not be able to manage a huge number of refugees.

“Refugee issues are not only issues of the host country; they’re not only issues of the host communities, by their issues for all of us, both here at the national level, but also at the international level. We are on a campaign to ensure that refugees are able to self-sustain themselves and return home better,” he said.

He said the government of Uganda pledges to ensure that its borders remain open to individuals who run seeking safety.

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