Uganda has suspended operations of 208 humanitarian agencies over violations of rules governing refugees in the East African country, a top government official said on Monday.
Hilary Onek, minister for relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, told Xinhua by telephone that some of the refugee partners were operating within the refugee settlements illegally, without valid Memorandum of Understanding with the Office of the Prime Minister and permits to operate in Uganda.
“Partners with invalid legal documents and non-compliant with the rules and regulations that govern refugee operations in the country should immediately leave the refugee settlements,” said Onek.
The minister said all non-compliant aid agencies must regularize their documents with the National Non-Governmental Organization bureau.
“The government is strongly cautioning all refugee partners to comply with the rules and regulations that govern refugee operations in Uganda,” said Onek.
“This is serious. Those who fail to comply with this order will have broken the laws of Uganda and will be subjected to prosecution,” he added.
Government figures show that only 69 aid agencies are authorized to implement refugee response activities in the country.
Uganda largely relies on humanitarian agencies to distribute relief aid in refugee settlements in the country.
The country hosts some 1.4 million refugees from neighboring including South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, according to figures by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.