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2015 UNHCR country operations profile - Uganda

| Overview |

Working environment

UNHCR 2015 Uganda country operations map

  • The traditional hospitality and generous asylum policies of the Ugandan Government were further demonstrated when fighting erupted in South Sudan in December 2013. Given the magnitude of the resulting humanitarian emergency, the Ugandan Government recognized South Sudanese fleeing to Uganda on a prima facie basis, and, in coordination with UNHCR and other partners, mounted one of the country's largest coordinated emergency responses. Nearly 125,000 South Sudanese in Uganda can access life-saving protection and assistance services.

  • Some improvements in security in parts of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have led tens of thousands of Congolese refugees to voluntarily repatriate from Uganda, either spontaneously or with humanitarian assistance. This momentum of returns from Uganda to the eastern DRC is expected to continue in 2015 and the Government, UNHCR and its partners will support Congolese who elect to voluntarily repatriate.

  • The Government and host communities allocate land to refugees in designated settlements in Uganda. However, growth in national and refugee populations means that land is becoming scarce and plot sizes are shrinking to accommodate new arrivals. A key 2015 challenge will be to optimize opportunities, productivity and returns from these smaller plots in order to achieve adequate social and economic security for affected households.

  • With UNHCR's support, the Government also: registers and issues civil identity documents to individual refugees; decides on asylum applications and appeals; deploys civil servants, health workers and teachers to refugee settlements; and contributes medical supplies and staff to refugee operations.

  • Regional diplomatic and military efforts to re-establish peace, security and stability, could significantly shape future domestic political and security agendas as well as operational trends. Domestic security risks and priorities likely to result from potential instability in the region may also affect humanitarian access and programme priorities and strategies.

People of concern

The three main population groups of concern to UNHCR in 2015 are projected to be refugees and asylum-seekers from South Sudan, the DRC and Somalia. Nearly two-thirds have arrived within the past five years in successive waves of refugee influxes that followed periods of conflict and insecurity in the respective countries of origin.

UNHCR 2015 planning figures for Uganda
Type of population Origin January 2015 December 2015
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total in country Of whom assisted
by UNHCR
Total 536,610 536,610 692,330 692,330
Refugees Dem. Rep. of the Congo 226,880 226,880 228,400 228,400
Somalia 43,970 43,970 60,410 60,410
South Sudan 139,280 139,280 271,300 271,300
Various 46,350 46,350 51,060 51,060
Asylum-seekers Dem. Rep. of the Congo 7,840 7,840 8,110 8,110
Eritrea 4,610 4,610 4,770 4,770
Somalia 8,710 8,710 9,000 9,000
Various 8,850 8,850 9,150 9,150
Returnee arrivals during year (ex-refugees) Uganda 20 20 20 20
Stateless Stateless 100 100 100 100
Others of concern Uganda 50,000 50,000 50,000 50,000

| Response |

Needs and strategies

In 2015, UNHCR's focus will remain on maintaining robust and effective systems in: inter-agency emergency preparedness, coordination and response capacity in a fluid geopolitical environment; access to asylum, safety, security and international protection; delivery of primary health care; sufficient food and nutrition support, education, clean drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, shelter and other infrastructure; timely provision of core relief items such as soap, jerry cans, blankets and other essential domestic items; targeted interventions for the most vulnerable refugees; and support for opportunities to achieve durable and livelihoods solutions.

Planned multi-year response strategies in international protection, basic service delivery, solutions and capacity building of local service providers, will be strengthened by strategic partnerships to ensure sustainable interventions and outcomes. The Office will work closely with refugees and host communities; governmental, humanitarian and development agencies; and other strategic partners, to achieve objectives set.

The multi-year Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHOPE) strategy, led by UNHCR on behalf of the UN Country Team, plans to support resilience-building efforts targeting refugee-affected districts by implementing a coordinated, multi-sector programme.

The pursuit of a multi-year, comprehensive solutions strategy, particularly for protracted groups, will remain an operational priority in 2015. To improve refugee security management and access to the judicial system, UNHCR will support the deployment of female and male police officers in refugee settlements. This will enhance community policing, as well as strengthen peaceful coexistence among different refugee communities and host communities. The Office will concurrently invest in training and logistical and material support, to advance broader protection goals, including child protection and SGBV prevention and response systems. This will enable effective community-based protection systems and solutions, as well as better relations between the police and communities.

The Government's refugee policy permits freedom of movement and the pursuit of livelihood opportunities. To optimize these opportunities, UNHCR will seek multi-year donor support for coordinated interventions in refugee-hosting areas to help advance prospects for long-staying refugees to acquire an alternative legal residency status.

| Implementation |

Coordination

The Office of the Prime Minister's Refugee Department and UNHCR jointly coordinate responses to address refugees' protection and assistance needs, as well as solutions, both for emergencies and ongoing programmes. This ensures effective consultations and coordinated interventions, supported by more than 60 local and international NGOs, the UN Country Team, humanitarian and development agencies, multilateral institutions, regional bodies and the private sector.

Regular strategic inter-agency coordination takes place at the national and district levels, where there is an increased focus on coordinating targeted and sustainable multi-year protection, basic services and durable solutions' interventions.

2015 UNHCR partners in Uganda
Implementing partners
Government agencies: District governments of Adjumani, Arua and Kiryandongo, Nsamizi Training Institute for Social Development, Office of the Prime Minister
NGOs: Action Africa Help - Uganda, Africa Humanitarian Action, African Initiatives for Relief and Development, American Refugee Committee, Danish Refugee Council, Humanitarian Initiative, InterAid Uganda, Just Relief Aid, Lutheran World Federation, Medical Teams International, Nsamizi Training Institute for Social Development, Oxfam, Pentecostal Church of Uganda, Uganda Red Cross Society, Windle Trust - Uganda
Operational partners
Government agencies: District Governments of Bundibugyo, Hoima
NGOs: Action Against Hunger, Adventist Development and Relief Agency, African Centre for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims, Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development, Alliance2015, Baylor, CARE International, Concern, Caritas, Catholic Relief Services, Finnish Refugee Council, Global Refugee International, GOAL, HelpAge International, Human Rights Network Uganda, Humedica, International Aid Services, International Rescue Committee, Jesuit Refugee Service, Malteser International, Marie Stopes, Médecins Sans Frontières, Norwegian Refugee Council, Oxfam, Public Defenders Association of Uganda, Real Medicine Foundation, Refugee Law Project, Samaritan's Purse, Save the Children, Touch Africa, Transcultural Psychosocial Organisation Uganda, War Child, Welthungerhilfe, World Harvest Mission, World Vision, ZOA
Others: FAO, ICRC, IOM, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNV, WFP, WHO

| Financial information |

Since 2011,emergencies in the region have multiplied the financial requirements of the Uganda operation almost threefold: from USD 76.5 million in 2011 to nearly USD 209.9 million in 2014. This increase has been driven primarily by the growth in needs, owning to the mass influxes into Uganda from neighbouring emergencies.

A supplementary appeal was launched in 2014 to cover the additional needs, and further supplementary requirements may arise in the year to come.

In 2015, the financial requirements for Uganda are set at USD 181.1 million, largely to consolidate and sustain the ongoing humanitarian response.

Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2015 Update


UNHCR contact information

The UNHCR Representation in Uganda
Style of Address The UNHCR Representative in Uganda
Street Address Plot 18, Prince Charles Drive, Kololo, Kampala, Uganda
Mailing Address P.O. Box 3813, Kampala, Uganda
Telephone 41 22 739 75 46
Facsimile 41 22 739 75 47
Email ugaka@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3
Working Hours
Monday:8:00 - 17:30
Tuesday:8:00 - 17:30
Wednesday:8:00 - 17:30
Thursday:8:00 - 17:30
Friday:
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
27 January 2014, Liberation Day
18 April 2014, Good Friday
21 April 2014, Easter Monday
01 May 2014, Labour Day
29 July 2014, Eid-al-Fitr
06 October 2014, Eid-al-Adha
09 October 2014, Independence Day
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
26 December 2014, Boxing Day
The UNHCR Sub-Office Mbarara
Style of Address The UNHCR Head of Field Office at Mbarara
Street Address Plot 4, Karamura Lane, Mbaguta Cell, Ruharo, Mbarara, Uganda
Mailing Address P.O. Box 391, Mbarara, Uganda
Telephone 41 22 739 75 89
Facsimile 256 414 256 989
Email UGAMB@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3
Working Hours
Monday:8:00 - 17:30
Tuesday:8:00 - 17:30
Wednesday:8:00 - 17:30
Thursday:8:00 - 17:30
Friday:8:00 - 14:00
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
27 January 2014, Liberation Day
18 April 2014, Good Friday
21 April 2014, Easter Monday
01 May 2014, Labour Day
29 July 2014, Eid-al-Fitr
06 October 2014, Eid-al-Adha
09 October 2014, Independence Day
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
26 December 2014, Boxing Day
UNHCR Sub Office Arua, Uganda
Style of Address The Officer-in-Charge of Sub-Office at Arua
Street Address Plot 66/67, Weatherhead Park Lane, Arua, Uganda
Mailing Address P.O Box 847, Arua, Uganda
Telephone 256 476 420 003
Facsimile 256 414 256 989
Email ugaar@unhcr.org
Time Zone GMT + 3
Working Hours
Monday:8:00 - 17:30
Tuesday:8:00 - 17:30
Wednesday:8:00 - 17:30
Thursday:8:00 - 17:30
Friday:8:00 - 14:00
Saturday:
Sunday:
Public Holidays 01 January 2014, New Year's Day
27 January 2014, Liberation Day
18 April 2014, Good Friday
21 April 2014, Easter Monday
01 May 2014, Labour Day
29 July 2014, Eid-al-Fitr
06 October 2014, Eid-al-Adha
09 October 2014, Independence Day
25 December 2014, Christmas Day
26 December 2014, Boxing Day
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Statistical Snapshot*
* As at January 2014
  1. Country or territory of asylum or residence. In the absence of Government estimates, UNHCR has estimated the refugee population in most industrialized countries based on 10 years of asylum-seekers recognition.
  2. Persons recognized as refugees under the 1951 UN Convention/1967 Protocol, the 1969 OAU Convention, in accordance with the UNHCR Statute, persons granted a complementary form of protection and those granted temporary protection. It also includes persons in a refugee-like situation whose status has not yet been verified.
  3. Persons whose application for asylum or refugee status is pending at any stage in the procedure.
  4. Refugees who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013. Source: Country of origin and asylum.
  5. Persons who are displaced within their country and to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance. It also includes persons who are in an IDP-like situation.
  6. IDPs protected/assisted by UNHCR who have returned to their place of origin during the first six months of 2013.
  7. Refers to persons under UNHCR's statelessness mandate.
  8. Persons of concern to UNHCR not included in the previous columns but to whom UNHCR extends protection and/or assistance.
  9. The category of people in a refugee-like situation is descriptive in nature and includes groups of people who are outside their country of origin and who face protection risks similar to those of refugees, but for whom refugee status has, for practical or other reasons, not been ascertained.
The data are generally provided by Governments, based on their own definitions and methods of data collection.
A dash (-) indicates that the value is zero, not available or not applicable.

Source: UNHCR/Governments.
Compiled by: UNHCR, FICSS.
Residing in Uganda [1]
Refugees [2] 220,555
Asylum Seekers [3] 24,221
Returned Refugees [4] 4
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Stateless Persons [7] 0
Various [8] 50,000
Total Population of Concern 294,780
Originating from Uganda [1]
Refugees [2] 8,177
Asylum Seekers [3] 3,587
Returned Refugees [4] 4
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPS) [5] 0
Returned IDPs [6] 0
Various [8] 50,000
Total Population of Concern 61,768
Government Contributions to UNHCR
Contributions since 2000
YearUSD
2014 0
2013 0
2012 0
2011 0
2010 0
2009 0
2008 0
2007 0
2006 0
2005 0
2004 0
2003 0
2002 0
2001 1,000
2000 0

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Uganda Emergency Update

Covering Congolese and South Sudanese Emergency

Uganda: Sudanese Refugees Flee Rebel Attacks

On August 5, 2002, some 24,000 Sudanese refugees fled their homes in Achol-Pii camp in northern Uganda after a bloody attack by the Lord's Liberation Army rebel group. More than 60 refugees and many local villagers were killed in the attack.

Fearing further violence, displaced refugees trekked overnight to Lira, from where UNHCR trucked them to Kiryondongo, 100 km to the south-west. Kiryondongo site, a settlement already hosting 13,000 refugees, was temporarily extended to accommodate the Achol-Pii survivors until another site could be prepared.

Arriving families were initially accommodated at an expanded reception centre at Kiryondongo. After being registered, the new arrivals received UNHCR plastic sheeting, an emergency food ration and a 20 x 15-metre plot per family to build their own temporary shelter. UNHCR also distributed blankets and jerry cans. Additional latrines were also dug, new water pumps installed and a new emergency clinic was set up.

Uganda: Sudanese Refugees Flee Rebel Attacks

Nyakabande: A haven in Uganda from the storm in North Kivu

The Nyakabande Transit Centre in southern Uganda was reopened by UNHCR and the Ugandan government in February 2012 to cope with a growing number of Congolese civilians crossing the border to escape general lawlessness in Democratic Republic of the Congo's (DRC) North Kivu province. Initially designed to cope with 500 people, the transit centre has been swamped with new arrivals fleeing waves of violence since April between DRC government forces and fighters from the rebel M23 movement. UNHCR helped expand capacity to 11,000 people and arranged transport from the border, but the inflow placed a severe strain on the facilities. The centre has registered and assisted more than 51,000 people since January, most of them from North Kivu. At its peak, last July, the transit centre was hosting more than 10,000 refugees. In a bid to decongest the centre, UNHCR provided transport for more than 30,000 Congolese to the refugee settlement at Rwamwanja, some 350 kilometres to the north of Nyakabande. For many of those fleeing eastern DRC, Nyakabande was a beacon of hope and a haven from the storm convulsing their home region. The latest fighting in North Kivu in November has not had much of an impact, but people still arrive daily.

Nyakabande: A haven in Uganda from the storm in North Kivu

A Refugee Settlement Rises Again in Northern Uganda

Fighting in South Sudan between government troops and rival forces since December has displaced tens of thousands of people, many of whom have sought shelter at temporary transit and reception centres just inside northern Uganda. The UN refugee agency has since early January reopened three former refugee settlements and moved an estimated 50,000 to these sites deeper inside Uganda, where it is easier to provide them with protection and assistance. After being taken by truck to one such settlement, Nyumanzi I, lying some 30 kilometres from the border, the new arrivals are given relief items such as food, blankets, mats and kitchenware as well as a plot of land from the government on which to build a shelter. The settlement has been filling up quickly. UNHCR and partners have been working around the clock to build roads, install water distribution networks and provide access to health care. By early February, homes and small shops had sprung up across the settlement as the South Sudanese got on with their lives while closely monitoring the situation back home in the hope of one day returning.

A Refugee Settlement Rises Again in Northern Uganda

Matiop's First Days as a Refugee in Uganda

After fighting engulfed his hometown of Bor in South Sudan last December, Matiop Atem Angang fled with his extended family of 15 - including his 95-year-old mother, his six children and his sister's family. They left the capital of Jonglei state, one of the areas worst affected by the violence of the last two months. A one-week journey by boat and truck brought them to safety in neighbouring Uganda.

At the border, Matiop's large family was taken to a UNHCR-run transit centre, Dzaipi, in the northern district of Adjumani. But with thousands of South Sudanese refugees arriving every day, the facility quickly became overcrowded. By mid-February, the UN refugee agency had managed to transfer refugees to their own plots of land where they will be able to live until it is safe for them to go home. Uganda is one of very few countries that allow refugees to live like local citizens. These photos follow Matiop through the process of registering as a refugee in Uganda - an experience he shares with some 70,000 of his compatriots.

Matiop's First Days as a Refugee in Uganda

On the Road: UNHCR Transfers Congolese Refugees to A Home in Uganda

In mid-July 2013, thousands of Congolese refugees began pouring over the border from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) into Bundibugyo district in western Uganda. They were fleeing fighting triggered when a Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces, attacked the town of Kamango in DRC's troubled North Kivu province. Many stayed in the mountainous border area, but others gravitated to the Bubukwanga Transit Centre deeper inside Uganda. Here, they were provided with protection and aid by the government, UNHCR and its partners. But the transit centre, with a capacity to hold 12,500 people, was soon overcrowded and people were encouraged to move to Kyangwali Refugee Settlement located 280 kilometres to the north in Hoima District. Since the first convoy left Bubukwanga for Kyangwali on August 14, more than 11,000 people have relocated to the settlement, where they have access to more comprehensive and long-term services. Photographer Michele Sibiloni recently visited Bubukwanga and followed a convoy of refugees as they made their way to the Kyangwali settlement.

On the Road: UNHCR Transfers Congolese Refugees to A Home in Uganda

The suffering and strength of displaced Congolese women

During the ceaseless cycle of violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, it is the vulnerable who suffer the most, especially women and children. The issue of widespread sexual and gender-based violence is a major concern for UNHCR, but it never goes away. The refugee agency has received dozens of reports of rape and assault of women during the latest wave of fighting between government forces and rebel troops as well as militia groups in North and South Kivu provinces. It is an area where rape is used as a weapon of war.

The fear of sexual and physical violence forces thousands of women to seek refuge away from their homes or across the border in countries such as Rwanda and Uganda. Often their menfolk remain behind and women become the heads of household, looking after young children. They are the bedrock of society, yet they are often the first to suffer when instability comes to their home areas.

The following images were taken recently in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Uganda by Frédèric Noy. They depict Congolese women who have fled their homes, leaving almost everything behind, and sought shelter in a place they hope will be better than where they came from. In many ways they have become inured to hardship, but so many of them continue to retain hope for themselves and their children. And that is an inspiration to those who help them.

The suffering and strength of displaced Congolese women

Congolese in Uganda: from flight to settlement

After three years of relative peace, waves of combat erupted again in Democratic Republic of the Congo's North Kivu province in April 2012, causing major population displacement. Fighting in North Kivu's Rutshuru territory between government forces and rebel fighters from the M23 movement caused tens of thousands of Congolese civilians to seek shelter across the border in Uganda, mainly in the Kisoro district. Many joined UNHCR-organized convoys to the settlement of Rwamwanja, which was opened last April to deal with the influx. By the end of 2012, the settlement was hosting more than 30,000 refugees. Each refugee family is given a plot of land on which to construct a home and plant crops and encouraged to become self-sufficient. UNHCR wants to urgently improve infrastructure at the settlement and has appealed for supplementary funding.

This photo set follows one family at Rwamwanja, led by 52-year-old Harerimana. The family lived in the Rutshuru town of Bitwo but fled when it came under attack last June. Harerimana became separated from his family and spent five days on the road on his own before finding his relatives in the forest. After two weeks, they crossed into Uganda and reached Nyakabande Transit Centre. They then registered to be moved to Rwamwanja, where the extended family now lives on two plots of land.

Congolese in Uganda: from flight to settlement

Uganda: A Father's TroublesPlay video

Uganda: A Father's Troubles

Forty-five-year-old Gabriel fled South Sudan with his wife and children to find safety in the UN compound in Bor. But, in April 2014, his wife was killed when an armed mob forced their way in, and now he is a single father to five children, seeking a better life in Uganda.

Uganda: Unique Approach For South SudanesePlay video

Uganda: Unique Approach For South Sudanese

Uganda has taken in thousands of South Sudanese refugees fleeing conflict. The government is helping the new arrivals by giving them land on which to build a shelter.

Uganda: New Camp, New ArrivalsPlay video

Uganda: New Camp, New Arrivals

Recent fighting in eastern Congo has seen thousands of civilians flee to a new camp, Bubukwanga, in neighboring Uganda.

Uganda: The Long WaitPlay video

Uganda: The Long Wait

For more than a decade, nearly 2 million people have been confined to camps in areas of northern Uganda where the rebel Lord's Resistance Army operates. With peace negotiations under way, the displaced are slowly returning to their homes and UNHCR is trying to help them restart their lives.
Uganda: The gift of educationPlay video

Uganda: The gift of education

As the violence in northern Uganda abates, UNHCR helps children go back to school.
Breaking Down The BarriersPlay video

Breaking Down The Barriers

See how sexual and gender-based violence is being addressed in a Ugandan refugee camp.