UN Chief jets into the country today

By Frederic Musisi

The United Nations Secretary General Anonio Guterres is expected to arrive in the country today for the Refugee Solidarity Summit that starts tomorrow.

The Summit will also be attended by five head of state and other dignitaries.

Upon arrival, Mr. Guterres is expected to visit Imvempi Settlement Camp in Arua district in the company of the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda.

The camp has a refugee population of about 110,000 spread out in 20 villages but can still accommodate another 50,000 refugees.

Among the heads of state expected is Alpha Conde the president of Guinea and current Chairman of the African Union, Zambia’s Edgar Lungu, Gabon’s Ali Bongo, Somalia’s Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed and Ethiopia’s Hailemariam Desalegn.

At the summit that runs from June 22-23 government and the UN seek to raise 2bn US Dollars (Shs 7trillion) to fund relief operations for the more than 1.2m refugees currently hosted in Uganda.
It will also show case Uganda’s refugee model.

President Museveni and Mr. Guterres will co-chair the summit event on Friday.

Meanwhile delegates at the refugee solidarity Summit are urged to go beyond pledging support.

The Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda says delegates from across the world should reiterate their collective responsibility to ending violence and instability, which are the main causes of refugee outflows.

The coalition’s coordinator Crispy Kaheru says the Summit should also aim to change the narrative from mere humanitarian assistance to long-term development of refugee host countries, like Uganda.

Parliament too has spoken out challenging the United Nations High Commission for Refugees to undertake Corporate Social Responsibility activities so as to ensure adequate services for communities hosting refugees.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga says the refugees are mounting unbearable pressure on the host communities, asking the government to pass on the message to the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guteres, who is expected in the country today ahead of the two-day Solidarity conference on refugees that opens tomorrow.