The right to work and to gainful employment for urban refugees in Uganda: A case study of Kampala District
MetadataShow full item record
This study examined the rights of urban refugees with a specific focus on the right to work and to gainful employment and the extent of its realisation by the refugees who choose to settle in the urban areas over the gazetted settlements. The study focused on the right to work and gainful employment as a critical determinant of Uganda‘s Refugee 'Self Reliance Policy‘ and the manner in which the policy and legal framework of Uganda have facilitated it. Recognition of and provision for the refugees‘ right to work by international and local legal framework notwithstanding, implementation of this right in Kampala is far from being realised. The paper highlights the experiences of urban refugees in Kampala in securing gainful employment against the backdrop of existing law and policy on the issue. The requirement for the ability to sustain their livelihoods in order to stay in urban areas never deters the refugees. Many of the refugees revealed that they came to Kampala very optimistic. They imagined a haven with many employment opportunities. However, upon arrival, they get demoralised when they discover that Kampala is not the haven, they had imagined. Many of them end up resigning and settling for any available opportunities, most of which are usually way below their area of expertise, expectation or pay enough to sustain their livelihoods. This paper takes cognisance of the fact that the efficacy of the urban refugee policy is dependent on the ability of the refugees to sustain themselves by securing employment. The paper argues that Uganda‘s refugee law and policies provide and guarantee the right to work and gainful employment for urban refugees. These provisions have been internationally recognised as being the most progressive in the world. However, enforcement of the refugee law has met other contradicting laws coupled with other vitiating factors like discrimination, accreditation requirements, limited skills and limited jobs, among others. Policymakers ought to improve the available policies by considering the challenges faced by urban refugees and Uganda‘s international obligations under the international refugee and human rights laws. This will, in turn, facilitate and improve the implementation and realisation of this right.