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Coronavirus: Uganda suspends entry of refugees and asylum seekers

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Coronavirus: Uganda suspends entry of refugees and asylum seekers

South Sudan refugees in a camp in Uganda

South Sudan refugees in a camp in Uganda UNHCR Photo

Uganda has suspended the entry of both refugees and asylum seekers for a period of one month.

Musa Ecweru, the State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness said that the suspension is in response to the presidential directive to close all border points which involves stopping entry and exit of all persons in order to combat the spread of COVID 19 which is caused by coronavirus.

“We would however like to stress that refugees who are already in the country will continue to receive support and solidarity in line with guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health,” Ecweru said in a statement.

Minister Musa Ecweru is worried about the huge task ahead for him as disaster minister due to a potential food shortage

Minister Musa Ecweru 

The Minister has also appealed to all refugees and asylum seekers already in the country to behave like Ugandan citizens and not to backtrack on measures already implemented in the Fight against coronavirus.

“Back and forth movements between Uganda and countries of origin are henceforth prohibited. Anyone who violates this guidance will be dealt with in accordance with the laws of Uganda,” Ecweru said.

He has as well urged leaders at central and local government levels to aid in ensuring the directives against coronavirus are followed in all refugee and asylum centers.

“We call upon leaders including LCV chairpersons, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs), cultural leaders and the security ensure adherence conformity and compliance to the presidential and supplementary COVID-19 preparedness measures,” he said.

For the past years, Uganda has had an open door policy for refugees and asylum seekers; it’s also known for being the largest refugee population host in Africa

 

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