Uganda accused of mistreating South Sudanese refugees

Bida Elly David

A female South Sudanese returnee has testified numerous mistreatments imposed against them by Ugandans at the refugee camp saying that their agricultural produces have been destroyed in several occasions making it difficult to survive.

Uganda is one of the countries in Africa hosting the largest population of South Sudanese Refugees in various camps. Most South Sudanese have been given comprehensive plots of land to settle and embark on agricultural activities. Not only that the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) have been standing in support of them.

Despite the accommodation Uganda provided to the South Sudanese refugees in the camps, the nationals in most camps have been mishandling them (refugees) in various ways creating discomforts to their livelihoods.

Speaking during the courtesy visit of the UNHCR in Magwi this week, Aloyo Lillian, a female returnee said that many South Sudanese at the refugee camps are faced by passive financial constraints as majority of them are willing to return home due to the suffering.

She said that South Sudanese women in the camps have been sexually assaulted and beaten by the male Ugandans in the process of fetching water and firewood in the bushes.

“We are very tired in the camps. The owners of the Country have severally involved in torturing and humiliating us sexually in the camps. We faced several beatings and rapes in the camps during return and going for water and firewood collection” she narrated.

“Many of the refugees want to come back but they are faced by transport challenges. The little farms that we have in the camps have been destroyed by citizens of the host Country” she continued.

Aloyo further revealed that reduction of food ration by the providers have been one of the food insecurities challenges refugees faces in various camps in Uganda saying that the food ratio was so limited to feed nuclear and extended families.

“The food ratio per each family has been cut. Most families in the camps run food shortages at an earlier stage of distribution while cultivated crops are being destroyed by the citizens of the host Country” she cried.

“For how long shall our people be suffering in the camps in the hands of their enemies? I have returned back home with my family due to the tragedies and I feel relieved” she said.

Aloyo also underscored difficulties they faced in accessing health services and facilities in the camp pointing out that the health workers could mock them against claimed burdens imposed by them while seeking for medical attention.

“When we go to the hospital to seek for medication, they could insult, mock us badly saying that we the refugees were bringing burden to them the nationals thus we end up not being medicated or rendered drugs. Now people in the camps are battling different medical complications due to lack of access to medical facilities blocked by the nationals” he said.

She called on the United Nations and the government to really extend their hands in support of the refugees in the camps by increasing their ratios and providing transport for those who are willing to voluntarily return back home.

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