Uganda: Government Sets Conditions for Refugees

Government has announced that any foreigner who seeks asylum as a refugee will be handled individually through the refugee eligibility committees and must present a passport, among other documents.

Mr Musa Ecweru, the State minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, yesterday said the new changes of determination will, however, not contradict the country’s open-door policy.

His remarks follow Tuesday’s declaration, where the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Mr Hilary Onek, announced the end of blanket refugee status in Uganda, citing security reasons.

Mr Ecweru said Uganda was previously using “the prima facie method” where many people would be granted refugee status but the method has now changed to individual determination.


Under the proposed individual determination, the applicant will be required to report to the Office of the Prime Minister with documents for clearance of identity.

These will include a passport, academic qualifications, letters of support and other identity documents.

“There are two areas of status determination. There is prima facie determination where when 300 or 400 hundred people come, we say because of uncertainty in their country, we grant asylum.

Then there is the individual status determination where even if you are more than 400, we interrogate you one by one and determine your identity. That doesn’t contradict the open-door policy, but changes only the method by which we grant asylum status,” the minister said.

Mr Joel Boutroue, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Uganda, said there are 20,000 asylum seekers, who are waiting to attain refugee status.

Determining refugee status

At reception centres

-Asylum seeker reports directly to the settlement commandant for registration.

-Interviewed for refugee status.

-Upon the granting of refugee status, OPM allocates a plot of land per family, non-food items, and food and ration cards.

-In case of protection-related issues, they report to UNHCR staff in the settlement.

Registering in Kampala

-The applicant reports to the Crime Intelligence Department at Old Kampala Police Station for registration.

-He or she then reports to the Office of the Prime Minister with all documents for clarity of identity and profile. These include passports, identity documents, academic qualifications and letters of support.

-An applicant is then issued with a temporary asylum seeker attestation, renewable after 3 months from the date of issue and thereafter every month.


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Publish date : 2019-09-05 18:00:45

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