1,037,898 SOUTH SUDAN SOUTH SUDAN REFUGEES IN UGANDA (DEC 2017)
US $674 M REQUIRED IN UGANDA IN 2017
34% FUNDING RECEIVED (DEC 2017)
82 RRRP PARTNERS IN UGANDA
In 2017, some 354,556 new refugees from South Sudan sought safety in Uganda, citing fears of sexual and physical violence, political uncertainty, forced recruitment of children, looting and food insecurity as reasons for fleeing their country of origin.
By 31 December 2017, the number of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda reached 1,037,898, of which 61 percent were children. More than 965,000 refugees settled in northern Uganda, mainly in Yumbe, Arua, Adjumani and Moyo districts, with six percent in midwestern Uganda (Hoima district) and one percent in Kampala.
The government of Uganda continued to grant South Sudanese asylum seekers refugee status on a prima facie basis as well as a wide range of human rights, including freedom of movement, right to work and establish businesses, the right to documentation and access to national services, in line with the 2006 Refugee Act.
Partners provided all new arrivals with reception assistance at entry points and collection centres as well as relocation to settlements. The Refugee Department of the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) continued to undertake registration and documentation through the Refugee Information Management System (RIMS), though delays have been recurrent throughout the year due to sheer magnitude of the crisis, lack of connectivity and insufficient capacity.
In the settlements, new arrivals received monthly food rations, household items and access to health care, education, water and sanitation facilities and protection services. They were also allocated a plot of land for housing and farming – donated by host communities.
In 2017, the Uganda Operation was compelled to open three new settlements: Imvepi, Rhino extension and Palabek, which hosted 176,020 refugees by the end of the year. A master settlement plan was developed to help restructure existing settlements into sites of manageable size.
Insufficient funding severely affected the ability of partners to stabile existing programmes and embark on long-term interventions. Phasing out water trucking in new settlement areas remained a key challenge, despite the progress made to increase access to water through sustainable systems. Limited resources have also affected investments in prevention and response to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), children’s education, environmental protection, support to host communities, and permanent community infrastructure.
In early 2017, Uganda launched the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework, embracing existing initiatives, mechanisms and policies seeking to address the needs of refugees and host communities in Uganda.
The President of Uganda and the UN Secretary General convened in June 2017 at the Solidarity Summit on Refugees in Kampala to rally global support for refugees and host communities, raising US $520 million in pledges.
Following serious allegations of fraud and corruption within the refugee response, UNHCR and WFP reached out to the government in late 2017 to seek cooperation in addressing growing concerns about the accuracy and reliability of refugee data. In acknowledging the risk it posed to the aim of realising a comprehensive refugee response, the government and UNHCR agreed to launch a verification of all refugees in Uganda in 2018 through the use of UNHCR biometric systems.