The challenges and opportunities facing Kenyan refugees in Uganda: strategy for improving the refugee policy in the East African Community, 2007-2008
This study analyses the phenomenon of the Kenyan refugees living in Uganda and proposes strategies for improving the refugee situation in the East African community so as to ensure sustainable peace within the region. The study specifically investigates how the meanings of the refugee phenomenon contributes to or hinders peace in both the host country and country of origin, the challenges facing the East African Community and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in handling the phenomenon of refugees and how they can be alleviated, and it finally explores the possible ways through which the East African Community can proactively prevent and transform the refugee phenomena within the region. The methodology used is a cross sectional study design; and applied qualitative methods of data collection which included in depth interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. This method enabled the researcher to give an in depth description and analysis of views of different respondents regarding the phenomenon of the Kenyan refugees in Uganda. The quantitative method also helped in the quantification of the respondents and their responses in presenting the findings. The research revealed that the refugee provisions at the International and regional level do not adequately allow for the proper and comfortable settlement of refuges in the host community. The policies in place are not adequately implemented to concretely address the needs, interests and critical problems of refugees. The research further identified that the government of Uganda has one of the best refugee policies in place but in practice the research reveals that the Kenyan refugees in Kiryandongo lacked basic utilities like safe water, shelter and proper health care. This lack of better quality services for the refugees reflects negatively on the UNHCR. Given the current efforts to institutionalize the East African Community, there is need for the EAC to come up with clear policies and strategies to address cross boarder migration of the citizens particularly in the situations of disaster and civil strife.