Burundi Situation: Uganda Refugee Response Plan - Midyear Update, January - June 2017
Despite a declining arrival rate of more than 1000 per month in 2016 to 500-700 a month in 2017, Burundians continue to enter Uganda, transiting through Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. Since March 2017, the majority crossed through the entry points of Bugango (Isingiro district) and Mutukula (Rakai district) on the borders.
Since April 2015 to end of June 2017, Uganda has received 36,278 Burundian refugees, with 3,485 new arrivals in the first half of 2017. Half of the Burundian refugees in Uganda are children.
The Government of Uganda revoked in May 2017 the prima facie status for Burundian asylum seekers, effective 1 June 2017. This decision has in practice delayed access to asylum procedures in Nakivale, with hundreds of people stranded at the Kabazana reception centre awaiting Refugee Eligibility Committee REC interviews. In order to reduce the backlog, UNHCR continues advocating with the Refugee Department of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to prioritize pending asylum applications for individuals in the settlements and boost the capacity of REC, including staffing and equipment.
In Uganda, Burundian refugees benefit from a favorable protection environment and receive the same treatment as refugees of other nationalities. In the settlements, refugees are given a plot of land for housing and agriculture and are integrated within the host communities. They also have access to documentation and services such as health care and education, the right to work, freedom of movement, and can access services and assistance through humanitarian aid channels. In urban areas refugees can access Government services. The most vulnerable refugees living in urban settings benefit from targeted assistance.