Uganda is ready to temporarily host Afghan refugees whose country has fallen under the control of the Taliban, the Ugandan Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Tuesday, indicating that this came after a request from the U.S.
The ministry gave no details on the number of people involved. “Discussions are continuing,” it said, while Ugandan media reports put the number at 2,000 refugees.
“Following last weekend’s events in Afghanistan, the U.S. government has reached out to several of its international partners, including Uganda, to assist in the likely need to temporarily house some Afghans and international citizens who may be evacuated,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
President Yoweri Museveni “has expressed Uganda’s readiness to provide assistance, including (for) the temporary accommodation of some of those affected by the current crisis,” the statement added, citing Uganda’s “long history and tradition of hosting” refugees.
An official of the High Committee for Refugees (UNHCR) in the country told AFP that the UN agency had not been involved in the discussions, but said it was “ready to support” any arrival.
This move has drawn mixed reactions from lawmakers especially those from the opposition.
MPs question Uganda's plans to host 2,000 Afghan #refugees. Uganda is among the African countries that the US has courted to host the Afghan refugees after Taliban militants ousted Ghani’s govt. #Uganda will host the refugees for 3 months https://t.co/UAoANg92YK #Afghanistan pic.twitter.com/hD9myoaj2U
— The Observer (@observerug) August 18, 2021
Ugandans weighed in on the matter with some supporting the move while some opposing it.
Very soon Uganda will become a refugee country and very soon Ugandans we're going to be refugees in our own country. Yiii mukama please 🙏🙏 listen to our prayers
— Sarah (@Sarah13462796) August 19, 2021
The issue of #Uganda hosting Afghanistan refugees is a gesture of warmness that describes us as Ugandans! While we are already overburdened by a number of refugees as per @UNHCRuganda and by our own challenges, NO one deserves to sleep in the cold when we can shelter! Godly!
— Abiaz Rwamwiri (@AbiazRwamwiri) August 17, 2021
Uganda is one of the world’s largest refugee-hosting countries, with nearly 1.5 million refugees and asylum seekers living there, the majority from South Sudan and the DRC.
Humanitarian agencies have in recent times highlight the lack of funding for refugee assistance in Afghanistan which has approximately 44 million people.
Albania and Kosovo also said Sunday they were ready to take in hundreds of Afghans, including women leaders, government officials and others potentially threatened by the Taliban, at the request of the United States.