Foreign Minister Gabriel on the UN Solidarity Summit on Refugees in Uganda

22.06.2017 - Press release

Foreign Minister Gabriel issued the following statement in Berlin today (22 June) on the occasion of the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees, which is taking place in Kampala today and tomorrow:

“The civil war in South Sudan has forced a large part of the population to flee their homes. Around 1.9 million South Sudanese people have fled to the neighbouring countries of Uganda, the Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Congo and the Central African Republic. Over one million people have sought protection and aid in Uganda.

This makes Uganda the biggest refugee-hosting country in Africa. Uganda is a country whose population already faces great humanitarian, economic and social challenges. It is continuing to take in refugees from neighbouring countries nevertheless. They are being cared for and even integrated in Uganda with the support of international aid organisations. This model refugee policy needs our support. The Secretary-General of the United Nations, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the Ugandan Government have therefore issued an invitation to a Solidarity Summit in Kampala. The objective is to obtain further urgently needed support from the international community.

The situation of the refugees in Uganda is closely bound up with the development of the humanitarian emergency in South Sudan. We are viewing this with great concern and have increased the Federal Government’s humanitarian assistance for South Sudan to around 90 million euros in 2017. We are using this money to support the people suffering in South Sudan and in the affected neighbouring countries, especially Uganda.

Germany will therefore support Uganda’s refugee policy with around 50 million euros, of which 14 million euros have been earmarked for humanitarian assistance and 36 million euros for development cooperation.

In view of the suffering of countless people in South Sudan and the burden that the neighbouring countries are bearing, I urgently call on the Government of South Sudan and all adversaries in the region to end their violent clashes and the serious human rights violations against the civilian population without delay. I also call on the governments in the region to support political processes seeking to achieve a peaceful solution to the conflict in South Sudan.”

Background information:

Uganda is the biggest refugee-hosting country in Africa having now taken in 1,270,000 refugees. Statistics published on the refugee situation around the world (Global Trends 2016), published by UNHCR on 19 June 2017, have found that Uganda is the fourth-largest refugee-hosting country in the world. It has taken in some 1,025,000 refugees from South Sudan since 2013, with the majority of that number arriving after July 2016. Aside from refugees from South Sudan, Uganda is hosting almost 320,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Somalia and other countries.

Uganda’s refugee policy has a strong focus on development and is held up around the world as a model for the integration of refugees into host communities. Refugees in Uganda enjoy freedom of movement and are given land, seed and tools to help them fend for themselves. Thanks to its exemplary policy, Uganda is among the first countries to implement the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) adopted in 2016 as part of the New York Declaration. Alongside guaranteeing the rights of refugees and ensuring that they receive the humanitarian aid they need, the CRRF sets out approaches to resolving refugee situations in the long term.

Against the backdrop of the dramatic increase in the number of refugees as well as reception capacities that have been exhausted and a general reduction in the availability of land, Uganda’s refugee policy is reaching its limits. The drought in many parts of East Africa is sparking further migration to Uganda – including from Kenya.

The Federal Government is supporting the CRRF’s comprehensive approach in Uganda with development policy measures and humanitarian assistance. Our policy is helping to ensure that the causes of displacement are tackled and that the absorption capacity of countries and regions taking in refugees is strengthened.

Over the past five years, the Federal Government has increased its budget for humanitarian assistance abroad to ten times the former amount. This makes Germany the world’s second-largest bilateral donor of humanitarian aid today. The Federal Foreign Office supported humanitarian aid projects in Africa to the tune of around 1.3 billion euros in 2016. Of these funds, some 307 million euros went to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – more than ever before.

The Federal Foreign Office’s contribution to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support South Sudanese refugees and internally displaced persons in South Sudan has been increased from an initial sum of five million to approximately 31 million euros.

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