Refugees to get COVID-19 vaccination – President Museveni
STATE HOUSE, ENTEBBE: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has commended the government of Uganda and President Yoweri Museveni for the good and flexible refugee policies that have enabled people from the neighboring countries to take refuge in Uganda and amicably coexist with the hosting communities.
“Your Excellency I am very happy to see the progress at the camp and that is why I came here personally to thank you,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi said.
Mr. Grandi who had just concluded his visit to one of the world’s largest refugee settlements Bidibidi in West Nile, told the President that he was very much impressed by what he witnessed at the camp and praised President Museveni and the government of Uganda for the inclusive refugee model.
Mr. Filippo Grandi today paid a courtesy call on President Yoweri Museveni at State House Entebbe. He was was accompanied by the UNHCR representative to Uganda Mr. Joel Boutroue and the UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda Ms. Rosa Malango as well as senior officials from the UNHCR.
Others present at the meeting included the Second Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Moses Ali, the Minister of Refugees and Disaster Preparedness Hon. Hillary Onek and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hon. Henry Oryem.
President Museveni warmly welcomed his guest Mr. Grandi to Uganda and urged the UNHCR to look into providing refugees with alternative means of energy for cooking to avoid the practice of environmental degradation by cutting trees.
“For us we don’t recognize these colonial borders. They mean nothing to us. We see refugees as our people. The tribes are the same. There is no way we can discriminate against them,” the President said.
The President also urged the UNHCR High Commissioner to deal with the relief and other logistics and confirmed that refugees will be included in the nationwide program of COVID-19 vaccination.
According to reports, Uganda is the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa, with over a million refugees, most of them from South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Burundi and Somalia. Kenya, Sudan, DRC and Ethiopia are also among the top refugee-hosting countries on the continent.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported in early 2018 that there are about 68.5 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, including 40 million who are internally displaced. And developing countries, mostly in Africa, host 85% of the refugee population.