European Union funds are being used to help Uganda take in refugees from the civil war raging in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.
Uganda has an open door policy for refugees, which is seen by aid organisations as an example to others.
Chris Nolan, director, The Refugee Law Project, Uganda: “In a way it’s a model for other countries to show that by taking people in and giving some space, giving some freedom of movement and giving some freedom for employment - it can work and doesn’t automatically create a huge crisis for the receiving country.”
While the funds undoubtedly help the refugees, Europe’s motivation is in part to reduce the incentives for those fleeing the conflict to head north.
“It would be surprising if there isn’t some degree of self-interest in supporting Uganda to keep people here rather than having a situation where it’s untenable to stay in Uganda and you have to look north,” says Nolan.
The EU’s ambassador to Uganda Attilio Pacifici explains the policy:
“Significant amounts of money have been given to Uganda to support this very, very progressive policy. Accepting refugees coming from a neighbouring country, well, we do that when it happens in our immediate neighbourhood. Uganda is doing that, welcome! Then we will have to help. Of course, in the process fewer refugees will take the route to Europe.”
Watch Jorgen Samso’s report from the shores of Lake Albert in Uganda in the video player above.