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MPs question Uganda’s plans to host 2,000 Afghan refugees

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Afghans chasing down a US evacuation plane

A section of legislators has questioned plans by the government to host 2,000 Afghan refugees who are escaping renewed instability in Afghanistan.

The concerns follow a pronouncement by the state minister for Disaster Preparedness Esther Anyakun Davinia that Uganda is willing to take in 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.


Uganda is among the African countries that the US has courted to host the Afghan refugees after Taliban militants ousted Ashraf Ghani’s government. The Taliban were two decades ago deposed by American troops.

According to Anyakun, Uganda expects to host the refugees temporarily for a period of three months or longer with the emergency landing of the first group expected anytime. The first batch of 500 was expected in the country on Monday evening but thye have not landed in yet.

Now, Norah Bigirwa, the Buliisa Woman MP raised the issue as a matter of national importance saying that government needs to clarify the plan for Uganda to host refugees from Afghanistan. She also asked whether the government through the ministry of Foreign Affairs has any arrangements to bring back Ugandans who have been working in the country as private security guards.

Kilak South MP Gilbert Olanya questioned how Uganda would host 2,000 refugees yet the country is the third-largest host of refugees in the world and the largest in Africa. However, Olanya’s submission was interrupted by Bugiri Municipality MP Asuman Basalirwa, saying that Uganda is a signatory to refugee conventions and that the country has not yet renounced its obligations under the conventions.

Basalirwa asked whether Olanya was in order to question Uganda’s ability to host refugees. Deputy speaker of parliament Anita Among said that Uganda wasn’t making any mistake to host the refugees. She however directed the government to present a statement on the matter next week.

 

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