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Uganda is experiencing the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world.
Since the middle of last year, the number of people who have sought refuge in Uganda has more than doubled, to over 1.2 million people. Some 2,000 people a day are entering Uganda, mainly from South Sudan. Eighty per cent are women and children.
The solution to this grave crisis is, first and foremost, to end the conflict in South Sudan which is giving rise to famine, disease, unspeakable human rights violations and mass displacement.
I commend the Government and people of Uganda for their humanity in welcoming and sheltering those fleeing conflict and violence. The world owes you a great debt. Despite the challenges you face, including water scarcity, overburdened health and education facilities, and pressure on the environment, the Ugandan Government, local authorities and communities have offered land and opportunities to refugees, in a spirit of humanity and inclusivity. Uganda’s response offers refugees dignity and independence, as well as a sense of normality at a difficult time.
When many richer countries are putting up barriers to keep people out, Uganda is showing the way with compassion and empathy.
It is time for collective efforts to support Uganda’s response to this crisis.