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Statement by Norway on Africa (Agenda Item 3. (a) i.)

Norway’s Statement on the situation in Uganda during the Regional update on Africa (agenda item 3, (a), i) of the 71st Meeting of the UNHCR Standing Committee.

Statement was delivered by counsellor Kjetil Elsebutangen.

Thank you, Chair,

Norway thanks UNHCR for the written and oral briefings on the key developments in Africa, and would like to make a few observations regarding the refugee response in Uganda.

Norway would like to extend praise to Uganda for its continued hospitality and solidarity to the large number of refugees coming into the country, particularly from South Sudan, but recently also from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The generosity of the Ugandan hosts is demonstrated in their efforts to provide the refugees with most important tools for self-reliance, such as education, health services and work opportunities.

The response continues to be one of the key examples of implementation of the CRRF principles.

Norway supports the effort, and has provided close to 7 million US dollars directly to the refugee response in Uganda and an additional 4 million US dollars to UNHCR’s South Sudan regional refugee response plan in 2017.

Norway has noted with regret that the refugee response in Uganda has experienced setbacks due to cases of financial irregularities and other misconduct.

We appreciate the openness on part of the UNHCR in communicating with donors about these setbacks, and in working to find solutions.

As the Government of Uganda, UNHCR and other actors engage in addressing the challenges, we have confidence that solutions will be found.

UNHCR needs to continue building strong partnerships with partner organisations on the ground.

The refugee response in Uganda needs a strong integration of the so-called nexus.

We must ensure that the humanitarian and development side come together already in the initial phase so that the response moves beyond the immediate actions in a refugee situation.

 

Finally, Chair,

It is impossible for us to comment on the refugee situation in Uganda, without also addressing the root causes for the crisis. The humanitarian consequences of the armed conflict in South Sudan are no less than catastrophic. As member of the troika, Norway remains committed to support every effort to reach a political solution that has regional backing as soon as possible. 

Thank you.