Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Ugandan government has committed to facilitate a dignified return of refugees to countries that have been declared safe. State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees Musa Ecweru says that Uganda cannot just let refugees return home until it’s assured of their safety.
The statement comes amidst speculation that is safe for refugees from Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC to return to their countries. Ecweru, however, says that the government cannot compel the refugees to return. But he advised refugee-producing countries to send representatives to Uganda to convince their people to voluntarily return home.
He, however, hastens to add that Burundi attempted to persuade its people to return home, but many declined and instead became hostile to their government officials.
Ecweru was speaking at a press briefing on the upcoming regional thematic meetings on Livelihoods and Self-reliance for Refugees, Returnees and Host Communities. The meetings by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), will take place at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo.
Ecweru says the government is waiting for an official call from the counterparts in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ecweru also dismisses reports that Uganda is harbouring Rwandan dissidents and that it was involved in the deportation of Rwandan nationals. He explains that Uganda has transferred refugees to a third country for sensitive reasons but has not deported them. He adds that no refugee is allowed to engage in subversive activities intended to cause mayhem in their country of origin.
Uganda hosts 1.2 million refugees, the majority of them from South Sudan.