Negotiating spaces and relations between refugees and the host communities in Northern Uganda

Authors: Sarah Khasalamwa-Mwandha*,
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism, Africa
Keywords: Local integration, Northern Uganda, Refugees
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 35
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Uganda is a country that is among the top three refugee hosting countries with an estimated 1.4 million refugees coming from South Sudan, DR Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Somalia, among others. With this growing numbers of displaced people, there is need for robust approaches to coping with displacement. Uganda has a unique refugee policy that promotes freedom of movement and socio-economic rights of the refugees. Specifically, refugees are allocated often arable and productive land in rural settlements for agriculture and the integrated social service provision facilitates interaction with the host communities. However, there remain challenges with integration of the refugees. For example, there exist tensions over shared resources such as land, water, woodlots and grazing areas.
Drawing on key informant interviews with South Sudanese refugees in selected settlements in Adjumani district, this paper highlights the opportunities and constraints to local integration as a durable solution. Specifically, the paper analyses the refugees’ access to the social and economic spaces that are critical for integration. Uganda’s progressive policy expands the opportunity space for improved livelihoods. However, refugees still encounter significant barriers in accessing the socio-economic spaces that undermines opportunities for local integration.

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