Uganda’s refugee policy: A case of Bidi Bidi Camp
Barusya, Mwesigwa Aggrey
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Many countries in Africa are facing the challenge of supporting and sustaining refugees. Other than Uganda, the other countries exporting refugees have continued to be perennially unstable which prohibits the refugees from returning home. The unstable conditions in those countries continue to reproduce refugees. Refugees in Uganda have become self-settled as members in the communities in Uganda. Uganda has made policies to provide for the refugees. The study analyses the open-door refugee policy, its motivation and the consequent implications for the host communities. It is based on secondary sources and interviews of few strategically selected respondents. It found that the open-door policy is multipurpose and adopted to meet different ends. These include pay back to the countries that once hosted Ugandan refugees, sanctity and high regard for refugees. The policy had positive and negative implications to the host communities both currently and futuristically. One of the positive effects is that it has stimulated local production and exploitation of hitherto idle resources because of availability of market and labour. On a whole, the findings indicated that the implications are largely negative. Notable among these found was that internal peace and security of host communities was threatened while environmental resources, local facilities and services of the communities were over-burdened. Its conclusion was that the open door-policy was not well planned and that continued to miss out key ingredients that could mitigate the likely negative effects of the large number of refugees in the host communities. It recommended the need for revision of the policy to incorporate some interventions which had the capacity mitigate the anticipated negative effects of massive influx of refugees to Uganda.