Under pressure

With funders fixated on Ukraine, Uganda asks its neighbors to pay for refugees

By Musinguzi Blanshe

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Posted on May 3, 2022 09:15

Congolese families, who fled from Democratic Republic of Congo by boat, sit in a queue at UNHCR’s Kyangwali refugee settlement camp
Congolese families, who fled from Democratic Republic of Congo by fleeing on a boat across Lake Albert, sit in a queue at United Nations High Commission for Refugees’ (UNHCR) Kyangwali refugee settlement camp, Uganda March 19, 2018. Picture taken March 19, 2018. REUTERS/James Akena

With the international community occupied with the war in Ukraine, Uganda says neighbouring countries whose citizens it hosts as refugees should start paying for their upkeep.

Uganda, a landlocked country of about 46 million people, hosts the second-largest refugee population in the world after Turkey.

As of the end of March, the East African nation was hosting 1.58 million refugees. Almost 90% of them are from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, neither of which is particularly keen — or able — to pay for them. Most recently, more than 30,000 Congolese refugees reportedly crossed into Uganda after resurgent M3 rebels resurfaced in eastern DRC.

Esther Anyakun Davina, Uganda’s state minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, tells The Africa Report that humanitarian organisations based in eastern DRC have warned that they should expect more refugees in the next four to six months.

Despite the current and impending influx, the minister says donors have indicated that they don’t have any more funding for refugees, which means that

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