By UTN Reporter
The Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Eng. Hilary Onek has asked refugees from Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan to return home following stable progress in the three countries.
Minister Hilary Onek was addressing delegates at the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala where our Reporter Mukisa Geoffrey was also in attendance.
The high-level experts and ministerial meeting whose focus was on jobs, livelihoods and self-reliance for refugees, returnees and host communities saw delegate’s from countries with insecurity risks.
According to minister, these countries have become politically stable adding that refugees from these countries should go back and settle and engage in economic transformation of their respective countries.
Onek adds that it’s high time these refugees return home and implement the agricultural knowledge they have achieved to their countries for economic development.
Records indicate that about 130,000 Rwandans and 14,000 Burundians are living in Uganda as refugees while South Sudanese refugees are about one million.
Onek wonders that some of the refugees, instead of reciprocating the hospitality afforded by the government and Ugandan hosts, they have instead turned into enemies.
Onek’s plea comes at a time when Uganda and Rwanda are trying to resolve the alleged disputes that of late saw cross boarders closed.
Rwanda accused Uganda of hosting rebels opposed to its government and illegal arrests and torture of Rwandan nationals.
The UN refugee agency in Uganda spokesperson Duniya Khan said repatriation of refugees should comply with existing, binding international refugee policy.
Uganda’s policy on refugees has been applauded globally as liberal because it gives refugees rights to acquire and own land, do business, study or get jobs.
IGAD executive secretary Mahboub Maalim, said the three-day meeting had made declarations to amend national policies and regulations on free movement of people and trade among member countries.