UNHCR boss Filippo Grandi to Visit Uganda Next Week

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, will be in the country next week, the Daily Express has learnt.

Sources from the Office of the Prime Minister say Grandi’s official visit starts on Monday (March 8, 2021) and ends on Thursday (March 11, 2021).

The sources intimated to this website that Grandi will tour several refugee settlements in the country and also have a meeting with President Yoweri Museveni and top government officials.

Top government officials remained tight-lipped about the visit, but a source confirmed it had been organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) local office and that Grandi would tour parts of West Nile, northern Uganda, especially Lamwo district and possibly western Uganda in the company of Hillary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.

Grandi is the 11th person to hold that position. He was first elected by the UN General Assembly on January 1, 2016 for a fi ve-year term, then re-elected to serve until June 30, 2023.

Work history

According to the UNHCR website, Grandi was born in Milan in 1957 and has been engaged in refugee and humanitarian work for more than 30 years.
According to UNHCR, the refugee population in Uganda is estimated to reach 1,484,356 by the end of this year.

According to UNHCR, the refugee population in Uganda is estimated to reach 1,484,356 by the end of this year.

From 2010 to 2014, he served as Commissioner-General of UNRWA, the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, having previously been its deputy since 2005.

Grandi also served as deputy special representative of the UN Secretary-General in Afghanistan and has worked with non-governmental organisations and UNHCR in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and at Geneva headquarters.

His visit to Uganda comes at a time when the country is being ranked as one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in Africa, with over 1.4 million refugees.

According to UNHCR, the refugee population in Uganda is estimated to reach 1,484,356 by the end of this year.

UNHCR noted that while the Ugandan borders have been officially closed for asylum since March last year to reduce the spread of COVID-19, there have been several instances of groups of asylum-seekers admitted.

It is expected that new refugees will continue to cross into Uganda through unofficial crossing points, fleeing political instability, violence and declining economies in neighbouring countries, including DR Congo, South Sudan and Burundi.

UNHCR noted that due to insufficient funding, food rations for refugees had been reduced by 30% since April last year and are likely to be cut further this year.

Uganda is expected to continue implementing progressive refugee policies for asylum seekers and refugees residing in the country, including freedom of movement, the right to work and establish a business, and access to Government services, such as education and health care.

“Under the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework in Uganda, efforts will continue to support Government refugee policies and protect the asylum space, support resilience and self-reliance of refugees and host communities and expand solutions,” UNHCR noted.

Policy on refugees 

Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, with more than 1.2 million refugees and asylum seekers.

Majority of the refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda originate from South Sudan, DR Congo and Burundi.

Uganda’s refugee laws and policies are among the most progressive in the world. Refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to work, have freedom of movement and can access social services.

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