Over 490 police officers have been deployed in 13 refugee settlements across the country in an effort to ensure security and peaceful co-existence with host communities.
This was revealed by the State Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hon Musa Ecweru who was responding to a report of the oversight visit to the refugee camps by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
Ecweru said that there are on-going engagements with the Uganda Police to increase the number of police personnel in refugee settlements across the country.
“It is also important to note that there are other non-uniformed security personnel evenly deployed in the refugee settlements all aimed at increasing security in the camps,” Ecweru said.
The Minister gave the assurances during a sitting of Parliament chaired by the Speaker, Rebecca Kadaga, on Thursday, 08 August 2019.
Ecweru added that due to the large population of over 1.3 million refugee in Uganda, there is increased pressure on health facilities, educational institutions and the environment in general.
“The existing health facilities are congested but the government has put up temporary health structures,” said Ecweru adding that, “the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Health are working with the refugee hosting districts to upgrade the existing health facilities so as to increase their capacity to deal with the large numbers”.
He revealed that the government is putting up extra classroom blocks in existing schools in refugee settlements to cater for the increased numbers of pupils and students.
“I am pleased to report that a team led by the Rt. Hon Prime Minister has begun commissioning many of the buildings under this project,” said Ecweru.
In her report to Parliament, the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Betty Aol Ocan, faulted the government for poor management of the refugee settlement program.
Aol Ocan was concerned that funds allocated to refugee host communities are based on the number of citizens rather than the refugee population thereby causing stress on the already limited resources.
“The refugee population is not considered in the budget formulation yet they access services in the local facilities and this has compromised service delivery,” Aol Ocan said.
Uganda has been hailed as having a progressive refugee policy and is home to refugees mainly from South Sudan, DRC, Burundi, Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Rwanda.