The Uganda model

Uganda’s refugee policy has many impressive aspects, and is lauded as one of the most progressive in the world.

  • Uganda’s refugee law grants (refugees) rights to documentation, the same social services as host population, freedom of movement, and to work, start businesses and own property.
  • The Government is investing significant resources in the protection and management of refugees, including through: registration, documentation, security, law and order, primary and secondary schooling, public health facilities and roads.
  • Government has set aside land (more is donated by the community) for refugees to settle and cultivate.
  • Refugees are allowed freedom of residence, in rural settlements or in urban centres. The Government enacted a refugee legal and policy framework which allows refugees to stay in urban centres if they so wish. This framework is enshrined in the Refugee Act of 2016 and its 2010 Refugee Regulations, which facilitate the enjoyment of human rights by refugees in Uganda
  • Uganda includes refugees in its national development plan, one of the policy actions called for in the New York Declaration. The National Development Plan II (NDP II, 2015/2016-2019/2020) includes a refugee-specific strategy known as the Settlement Transformative Agenda (STA). Led by the OPM Refugee Department, the STA aims to foster sustainable livelihoods for refugees and host communities and to create an enabling environment for refugees to live in safety, dignity and in harmony with the host communities. The STA is supported by the Joint United Nations-World Bank Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (UN-WB ReHoPE) strategic framework that also is integrated into the UNDAF 2016-2020 in support of the NDP II.
  • ReHoPE is a self-reliance and resilience strategic framework for refugee and host communities in Uganda. Through a multi-sectorial partnership, the Government, UN Agencies and the World Bank, supported by development partners, aim to enhance coordination of transitional programming from emergency towards development for refugee-hosting districts through socio-economic empowerment and reinforced integrated service delivery. This five year strategy will enhance the resilience of the refugee hosting districts and create space for enhanced socio-economic integration of refugees, including bridging the gap between phases in humanitarian and development intervention.