Burundi + 6 more

Uganda hosts over 240,000 refugees from neighboring countries

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KAMPALA, Jun 20, 2005 (Xinhua via COMTEX) - Ugandan First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness Moses Ali Monday said Uganda is hosting over 240,000 refugees, most of whom are from Sudan.

In an statement to mark this year's International Refugee Day which falls on Monday, Ali said other refugees are from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, Ethiopia and Burundi.

Ali said the government is encouraging the refugees to live in harmony with the nationals.

Meanwhile, in her address to the nation to mark the International Refugee Day, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Christine AMongin Aporu pointed out that out of 17 million estimated number of refugees in the world, Uganda hosts over 240,000 refugees from neighboring countries.

She said that to strengthen its policies, the Ugandan government has launched self-reliance strategy to promote empowerment of refugees to be able to support themselves.

Uganda's celebration for this year's refugee day took place at Ikafe Refugee Settlement in Yumbe district in west Nile, northern part of the country.

According to reports reaching here, United Nations HIgh Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Antonio Guterres spoke at the gathering and called for the international community to adopt a fresh approach to asylum seekers, praising Uganda for its treatment of stateless persons.

"Refugees are not terrorists but victims of terror," Guterres said.

"I believe Uganda is an extraordinary example of generosity towards refugees," the former Portuguese prime minister said, adding that "this is a lesson for rich nations where the issue of genuine asylum seekers has become confused with illegal immigrants and terrorism."

Copyright (c) 2005 Comtex News Network
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 06/20/2005 14:04:05