Warsame applauded Uganda for the good conducive environment accorded to the refugees unlike in other countries that close their doors observing that worldwide refugees were estimated to be over 60 million while 86% of them were being hosted by developing countries which remain a burden to them.

?Uganda is now home to more refugees than any time in history and has become the ninth largest refugee hosting country in the world and third in this region,? she explained.

She asked global powers to stop being passive observers or distant players to the conflicts that are driving so many from their homes.

She said; ?It is now urgent that powers that have influence over those involved in conflict put aside their differences and create the conditions to end bloodshed.?

Warsame was speaking at the commemoration of the world refugee day at Dziapi primary school in Dziapi sub county Adjumani district on Saturday under the theme: ?Refugees are regular people, get to know and support them.?.

The second deputy Prime Minister Rtd. Gen. Moses Ali who was chief guest warned that refugees living in Uganda to stay off politics or else face arrest.

Gen. Ali said for refugees to involve in Ugandan politics when they were not entitled would lead them to jail.

He cautioned them to rather enjoy the peace accorded by the government, and concentrate on refugee activities.

?The laws are not made specifically for anybody but for law breakers. You can drop from heaven and if you break our laws you will be put in prison,? he emphasized.

Clad in army fatigue, the General equally cautioned UNHCR on the restoration of the environment that refugees destroy by cutting trees to construct their houses and as source of fire.

He said, about 14 million trees had been cut and yet not replanted as required by UNHCR.

?Today, Uganda is a host to 466, 135 refugees from various countries. Our treatment and handling of refugees has been hailed by international community and UNHCR. We are proud as a county to be associated with this noble cause,? he said.

He however asked for support from international community to Uganda to continue serving the high number of refugees in a dignified manner.

Jessy Kamstra from Lutheran World Federation, speaking on behalf of implementing partners, also acknowledged that Uganda was receiving refugees from DRC, Burundi and South Sudan because of its priceless generosity.

Nixon Owole, the Adjumani district chairman, asked government and implementing partners to support the refugees with income generating activities so that they can become self-reliant.

Owole equally asked them to take advantage of the education system in Uganda to improve their literacy so that when they go back to their countries they go to serve than being served.

Musa M. Tombe, the refugee representative from Alere settlement camp, said the location of schools far from them was affecting accessibility.

Tombe equally decried some ill minded people who deceive their children in the name of providing them scholarships and later on abandon them along the way.

?Some of us have been in Uganda as refugees for over 20 years; we request government to grant us citizenship because we are not willing to go back,? he said.

He commended the host community for the good relation which has improved despite earlier indiscipline cases amongst themselves.

By Arnest Tumwesige, The New Vision


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