AFLI Policy brief on the special question of urban refugees in Uganda
Rwemisisi Tibemanya, Jude
Kugonza Kamanyire, Sylvester
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As the number of displaced persons exceeded the Second World War spike, the international community and host governments continue to grapple for durable solutions. Uganda faces the problem of surging number of refugees from 690,000 in 2015 to 1.5 million in 2018 (UNHCR, 2018), 100,000 of whom have opted for urban centres yet conventional refugee response is based on rural settlement (Hovil 2007). While government of Uganda has committed about 900km2 of land for rural refugee settlement, the swelling number of asylum seekers and refugees in urban1 non-settlement settings demands innovative approaches to ease the burden on financial and natural resources (Dryden-Petersen 2006). The objective of this policy brief is to raise awareness about emerging issues in management of refugees and to influence public policy on management of refugees in the country. The policy brief presents policy suggestions emerging from a study titled ‘The special question of urban refugees in Uganda’ commissioned by Africa Leadership Institute (AFLI) and triggered by parliamentary debate on the matter in reference to the parliamentary hansard in April, March and May 2018 which resulted into recommendations to review the process of management of refugees in the country. The study was conducted in partnership with Inter-Aid Uganda among refugees living in the jurisdiction of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) and aimed at identifying and prescribing solutions to emerging issues affecting urban refugees. The study entailed document review, key informant interviews and focus group discussions with beneficiaries and practitioners of existing refugee policy. Findings were validated by a public policy dialogue organised by Uganda Development Policy Management Forum (UDPMF) at Uganda Management Institute (UMI) and AFLI. This policy brief recommends that; 1. Refugee services including direct and indirect cost per refugee be guided by comprehensive evidence- based policy enabled by intensification of electronic management of refugees. 2. Reliable up-to-date data capturing refugee activity including arrival and exit be used to monitor their movement and security and to estimate resources for refugee response. 3. Services for urban refugees should extend to urbanities beyond Kampala Capital City Authority. 4. Livelihood projects be introduced to improve quality of life for low skilled urban refugees and to augment their contribution Gross Domestic Product.