Refugees Feeling Insecure As Uganda Goes To The Polls

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Refugees living in urban settings have been warned to stay away from the ongoing political activities if they are to keep safe and secure in this election season.

The warning has been sounded during a safety and security training for refugees organised by Raise Up organisation, Smart Transitions and Uganda Media Women Association (UMWA) and held in Kampala on Saturday.

“Stay away from campaign activities, avoid donning any party colours and going to places where campaigns or processions are being conducted, refrain from responding to any campaign slogan and participating in any activity that is lawful like riots. If you are caught in this confusion, quickly but calmly move away.” Warned Margret Ssentamu the executive director UMWA

She added ” avoid participating in any political debate whether in the open or private, don’t facilitate any political activity, ensure you are not found idle or in a suspicious place and don’t be bribed to participate in any electoral process.

Mrs. Ssentamu also urged government to sensitise the refugees on their rights and how they can peacefully live in this country.

“Government should come up with a program targeting the refugees, informing them about their rights and obligation but also reminding them that they are not expected to participate in elections in a host country.” She added

Earlier, the refugees revealed that they are receiving attacks from some Ugandans who pressure them to declare the candidates they support and also threat to harm them once the government changes.

Some of the refugees presenting their concerns during the training held in Kampala on Saturday

“Sometimes you are moving in town or seated in a bus and you are putting on a red or yellow shirt and people start attacking you. Other people come to your house or workplace and ask you which candidate you support and when you tell them you are neutral they start threatening you that once their candidate wins they will beat you up and chase you out of their country.” noted Julien Nash a Congelese refugee in Uganda.

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He said they feel insecure in these towns since the police where they are supposed to run to in case of any attacts is unfriendly.

According to UNHCR, Uganda is the third largest refugee-hosting country in the world with a total of 1,223,003 refugees in Uganda.

In Kampala, there are approximately 100,000 Refugees that settle in neighborhoods across the capital including Nsambya, Kisenyi, Kansanga, Bukasa, Katwe, Mengo, Nankulabye and Kazo Angola.

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