UK in talks with Uganda over Burundi crisis

December 16, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

The United Kingdom government has held bilateral talks with Uganda over the ongoing crisis in Burundi.

Visiting UK Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth office James Duddridge held a meeting with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday.

Minister Duddridge said that the discussion with the President focused on how best the UK could be of assistance in finding a solution to the crisis in Burundi that has contributed to the rising number of refugees in Uganda.

He revealed that the UK government has provided 11.6 million pounds in support of the refugee response in Uganda this year alone.

The UK funding channeled through UNHCR, UNICEF and the WFP will be used to provide life saving assistance in the form of food, shelter, immunizations and medical care, clean water and sanitary facilities, among others.

Mr Duddridge also attended roundtable discussion with UN agencies and Uganda’s minister for Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru on Tuesday. British High commissioner to Uganda Alison Blackburne attended the talks at the UNHCR offices in Kampala.

Duddridge lauded Uganda for showing exceptional leaderships by enormously and generously receiving refugees fleeing fighting in the Great Lakes region.

17,000 Burundian refugees are being hosted in Uganda since the crisis broke out in April this year.

Charles Yaxley, Associate External Relations officer at UNHCR Uganda country office, said that another 10,000 refugees are expected to come to Uganda next year if the situation in Burundi worsens. He stated that many of the refugees from Burundi are now living in the Nakivale camp in western Uganda.

Yaxley noted that due to the fragile situation in Burundi, UNHCR has in the past two weeks received between 500-700 refugees on average entering Uganda.

“UNHCR is finalising a regional response plan for refugees from Burundi, to form a basis of our humanitarian appeal next year” he said.

Uganda is currently host to more than half a million refugees and asylum seekers making it the third largest refugee hosting country in the region after Kenya and Ethiopia, and the eighth largest in the world.

“With ever increasing refugees in the region needing our protection, Uganda welcomes your call on behalf of the UK for more solidarity and international burden sharing. At a time when our country is hosting more refugees than ever before, it is vital that our international partners work with us to ensure support is provided to our neighbours in need” said Disaster and Preparedness Minister Echweru.

“Our prayer is that the problems that cause displacement are stopped” he said.

This year alone Uganda received more than 90,000 refugees and asylum seekers from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. This brings the total population of refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda to 509,447.

Yaxley mentioned DR Congo as the largest source of influx of refugees due to militia activities in eastern Congo where FDLR and Mai Mai militias are killing and kidnapping people as well as raping women in the communities where they operate.  He stated that UNHCR also expect the number of refugees from South Sudan to shoot up to 60,000 in 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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