A Service For Professionals Sunday, August 20, 2017
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Helping countries to help their neighbours – Foreign Minister Gabriel to visit Uganda

War and starvation have driven more than 1.3 million people from South Sudan across the border to Uganda. The neighbouring country’s willingness to help has so far managed to prevent an even greater migration crisis. Foreign Minister Gabriel wants to provide even more support to the country before it is too late. 

Foreign Minister Gabriel is travelling to one of the world’s most important hot spots for refugees, displaced persons and migrants in Africa – to Uganda, the site of the third largest refugee crisis in the world. Up to 2000 people per day pour across the border to Uganda from South Sudan, fleeing brutal fighting and severe droughts. Uganda, a land-locked country at Lake Victoria, is nevertheless keeping its borders open for refugees. There is a huge willingness to help – Uganda does not only take in a large number of refugees, but is also a role model as regards their integration. Refugees only spend a short period of time in refugee camps in Uganda. They can move freely around the country, are allowed to work and are even allocated a plot of land. 

Uganda needs help to provide this support 

Uganda is doing its utmost to integrate refugees. However, it has pressing problems of its own. Youth unemployment has been growing ever higher for years and drought destroyed a large part of the harvest in the spring. Uganda urgently needs more support from the international community in order to be able to continue taking in people fleeing from South Sudan.

Preventing a global migration crisis

The situation in Uganda shows that the international community must provide support at an early stage so that regional refugee movements do not become global migration crises. Neighbouring countries that help refugees must not be left to cope with the situation on their own. Foreign Minister Gabriel thus wants to encourage a new approach. There must be better coordination of development cooperation and humanitarian assistance for refugees in the future. In particular, development projects must support communities that take in large numbers of refugees so that people in need can continue to find refuge. Germany has already provided over 60 million euros in aid to Uganda this year. 

Journey to the hub 

But how can one ensure that help arrives where it is most urgently needed for emergency aid and integration? During his visit to Uganda, Gabriel will go far beyond the usual talks with the political elite. The first appointment on the schedule will take the Foreign Minister and his delegation to the heart of the issue when they visit Rhino Camp Refugee Settlement in northern Uganda, currently home to over 50,000 refugees. Gabriel will meet aid workers and refugees in order to gain a first-hand impression of the situation. He will be accompanied on his trip by the musician and Africa activist Wolfgang Niedecken.

Human rights will also be on the agenda 

Gabriel will travel directly from the refugee settlement to the capital Kampala, where he will meet President Museveni. The agenda for their talks will include the human rights situation and freedom of the press.

On Thursday, Gabriel and his delegation will travel on to South Sudan, the origin of the conflict. 

Distributed by APO on behalf of Germany - Federal Foreign Office.
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