What can we learn from Ugandan MPS push for the law to restrict the number of refugees which is being discussed in the Parliament?
Uganda is full of Drama, does Uganda have no major priorities which our MPs could look at, could spend upon this time and could invest in Tax Payers money?
Timing: The time its self raises questions, this comes during the Commemoration of the World Refugees Day. In planing this may be intended to attract the attention of the International Community in order to negotiate for a better deal for hosting refugees.
Especially at this moment when Uganda is asked to account about refugee issues. This is a good deal not only to put pressure on donors but also force them to ma compromises. And at the same a clear intimidation to refugees and all those struggling for refugee rights.
The Actors pushing for this:
Much as this bill may easily attract the attention of the Opposition MPs, surprisingly even those from the ruling party are supporting it. But why could the Opposition MPs distance themselves from it? And yet it is not a good political deal for them. Let us wait and see.
This is not the position of the government: The government of Uganda has been very clear since last year during the Refugee Solidarity Summit about its willingness to continue receiving refugees. How far can MPs go to push for a law which the government does not support? And even if it is passed how will it be implemented and who will implement it? And how different it may be from other laws which have never been implemented?
Refugees as New Found Minerals: With issues in HIV and Malaria funding, currently refugees are the second place for Uganda to attract foreign funding after OIL. And at least from some actions so far taken Uganda seems to be determined to protect this New Mineral at all cost. The arrest of former IGP and top Police Officers is a sign, but also all the statements pronounced during the World Refugee Day on June 20th, is an indicator that Uganda has a particular attention currently to protect the refugee deal.
But Uganda seems to bee weak and our MPs could have addressed the issue of Uganda Foreign Policy. Uganda is accused of being either directly or indirectly involved in destabilising its neighbors and therefore create refugees. And Uganda seems not to be doing enough to contribute positively to the end of war in these neighbor countries.
Yesterday Radio France International reported that ” Uganda was not willing to see the two main actors in the conflict in South Sudan sign a peace deal in Ethiopia, and that Uganda was doing all what is possible for the negotiations to fail”.
In short, let us wait and see because the act itself of restricting refugees is inhuman, immoral, cannot be implemented and illegal.
But on the other way, why should Uganda continue receiving refugees who it cannot grant basic needs and only being exposed in political and economic negotiations?
As refugees we must position ourselves on this issue and I think we should Petition the Speaker of Parliament.
This debate is too big.
Kulihoshi M Pecos
Refugee Human Rights Defender in Uganda.