refugeesby URN Dec 26th 2019 · 2 min read
Refugees with IOM staff at the departure lounge at Entebbe International Airport
The United Nations’ International Organization for Migration (IOM) has resettled more than 6,400 refugees from Uganda in third countries around the globe. The organization released data showing that the number of resettled refugees grew from 5,011 to 6,496 between 2017 and 2018. The data indicates that the United States of America topped the list of countries accepting refugees from Uganda in 2018 with 2,512, a decline from the 2,740 refugees resettled in 2017.
Canada absorbed 1,609 refugees, up from 935 it admitted in 2017, followed by Australia in third position with 417 refugees, up from 201 admitted in 2017. The statement says another 169 refugees were resettled in the Netherlands, a significant jump from just six admitted the previous year. Other countries that accepted to resettle refugees from Uganda include Norway (707), Sweden (845), Britain (115) and others (122). Uganda is currently hosting more than 1.3 million refugees from South Sudan, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Burundi among others. The IOM says since resettlement was announced as one of the long term solutions to the large Congolese refugees in Uganda in 2010, it has moved 36,000 Congolese to the United States, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands, Ireland and other countries. Last week, Sahra Farah, the Chief of Mission of IOM in Uganda says some of the works of the agency are not very well understood by locals in Uganda.Farah said the agency supports government in addressing trafficking in persons and the dream shattering exploitation of migrant workers.
“As part of its mission to promote humane and orderly migration, IOM runs programmes on combating trafficking in persons and assisted voluntary return and re-integration” a newsletter published by the agency states. Most of the relocated refugees have come from settlements such as Nakivale in Isingiro district, Kyangwali in Hoima and Kyaka II in Kyegegwa districts,” says the statement. According to the statement on resettlement operations of IOM Uganda, while many refugees feel at home in Uganda as they wait to return home, for others, Uganda becomes a transit country, as they look to relocate mostly to the West. IOM says it works together with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Office of the Prime Minister, the embassies of the accepting countries among others on lengthy operations to move refugees to third countries. Under the programme, the accepted refugees are taken through 3-5 days of pre-departure cultural orientation to address their resettlement and host country needs as well as receiving logistical travel assistance. Hailed as a model country in refugees’ policy, Uganda is a signatory to the 1951 Refugees Convention, the United Nations’ multilateral treaty that defines who a refugee is and sets out the rights of individuals who are granted asylum and the responsibilities of nations that grant asylum.