Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, delivered by Tayé-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, to a high-level event on Uganda’s transformational approach to refugees and host communities, in New York today:
I thank the Government and people of Uganda for their compassion, generosity and hospitality in hosting refugees fleeing conflicts in neighbouring countries. Uganda’s refugee policy is an inspiration for the region and the wider world. Rather than being hosted in camps, refugees are settled in villages and have access to land. This policy recognizes the rights of refugees to work, establish businesses, move freely within their host country and access the same services as Ugandans.
I commend Uganda’s transformative and integrated settlement approach, which allows refugees the possibility to live with greater dignity, independence and normality. We know that when communities recognize and welcome refugees as agents of development and contributors to the sustainable development of their host communities, everyone benefits.
I am pleased that the Government of Uganda is integrating refugee management and protection into its second national development plan through the Settlement Transformative Agenda, in line with the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. This Agenda aims to sustainably assist refugees and host communities by promoting socioeconomic development in refugee-hosting areas, supported by the United Nations through the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment initiative, which was developed in collaboration with the World Bank.
Once again, thank you for your efforts and your example as one of the world’s largest host nations for refugees. The United Nations remains committed to standing with the Government and people of Uganda in meeting the needs and rights of refugees.