Government has deployed over 490 police officers in 13 refugee camps across the country to promote security and peaceful relationships with host communities.
The Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon Musa Ecweru confirmed the deployment while responding to a report that was raised after an oversight visit to the refugee camps by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Ecweru said that there are on-going engagements with the Uganda Police to increase the number of police personnel in refugee settlements across the country.
These, in addition to other non-uniformed security personnel, have all been evenly deployed in the refugee settlements with a purpose of improving on the security in refugee camps.
The Minister gave these assurances during a sitting of Parliament chaired by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, on Thursday, 08 August 2019.
According to Ecweru, they have embarked on this trend due to the existing large population of over 1.3 million refugees in Uganda.
Also, these huge numbers have led to persistent congestion in health facilities, educational institutions and the environment in general.
As a result, the minister said that the Office of the Prime Minister together with the Ministry of Health is already working with refugee-hosting districts to ensure a capacity increase of the existing health facilities
Furthermore, she revealed that the government is putting up extra classroom blocks in existing schools in refugee settlements to be able to cope with the increasing population of refugees.
“I am pleased to report that a team led by the Rt. Hon Prime Minister has begun commissioning many of the buildings under this project,” said Ecweru.
“The existing health facilities are congested but the government has put up temporary health structures,” added Ecweru.
In her report to Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Betty Aol Ocan, questioned the government’s poor management of the refugee settlement programme and camps.
Aol Ocan also raised her concerns about the funds that are allocated to refugee host communities. She questioned why these allocated funds are based on the number of citizens rather than the refugee population something that leads to over-reliance on the few and limited resources.
“The refugee population is not considered in the budget formulation yet they access services in the local facilities and this has compromised service delivery,” Aol Ocan said.
Being one of the most refugee welcoming countries in Africa, Uganda’s refugee camps are mainly filled with people from Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea and Rwanda.
As well as South Sudan and Ethiopia whose locals migrated mainly due to the persistent political wars and instabilities.
By John Dalton Kigozi