NCS flags off Athletes to London, gives each Usm pocket money

National Council of Sports has offered to accommodate the Uganda Athletics team and also give them pocket money while at the World Championships in London.

NCS general secretary Nicholas Muramagi announced the offer while flagging off the national team of 20 men and women at the MTN Arena, Lugogo today.

The 12-day championship starts on Thursday and runs until August 14.

Muramagi urged the athletes to consider themselves lucky to be on the national team and work hard to win medals for the country as the reward.

To see that you are among the 20 athletes to represent Uganda makes you a legend. We support you to excel so that we can celebrate with you. I encourage you to work harder. We want to benefit from this hugely endowed country, Muramagi said.

Before departure in that afternoon, NCS offered each athlete of the team Usm pocket money and Us.5m for the officials and hosted the squad for a breakfast at Javas Restaurant on Monday.

The athletes for the world championships included marathoners, steeplechase, 10000metre runners and middle distance runners.

Team Uganda, Women

Chekwel Juliet -10000m, Chelangat Mercyline -5000m, Chesang Stella -5000m, Peruth Chemutai -3000m Sc, Chebet Esther -1500m, Ajok Dorcus -800m, Nanyondo Winnie -800m, Nakayi Halima -800m

Men

Mutai Solomon �marathon, Chemonges Robert �Marathon, Chesakt Alex �Marathon, Cheptegei Kipkrui -10000m, Timothy Toroitich -10000m, Kurung Moses -10000m, Kiplimo Jacob -5000m, Kissa Stephen -5000m, Araptani Jacob -3000m Sc, Sikowu Abel -3000m Sc, Chemutai Albert -3000Sc, Musagala Ronald -1500m, Mayanja Abu Salim -800m

Officials

Dominic Otuchet �Team manager

G. Ahimbisibwe �Head Coach

Guiseppa Giambran -Assistant Coach

Veronic Sempier �Physio

Source: National Council for Sports

Unwelcome stranger: An African asylum seeker in Israel

This short documentary tells the story of Anwar, a Sudanese anti-government activist who fled his home in Darfur in 2003.

As many as 300,000 people have fallen victim there to government-led ethnic cleansing and violence by rebel groups. Anwar survived and eventually sought haven in Israel, but it’s not been an easy journey. His experiences, especially of detention and injustice, are telling and this film offers a rare window into the difficult and uncertain lives many African asylum seekers face today in Israel.

Unwelcome Stranger: An African asylum seeker in Israel

African asylum seekers began crossing Israel’s border with the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula more than a decade ago, many having survived human smugglers and harsh desert conditions.

At first, some of the arrivals � who now number around 40,000 and are mostly from Sudan and Eritrea � were granted temporary residency. But even though Israel is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention (and once took in several hundred Vietnamese boat people in the late 1970s), it has only ever granted refugee status to nine Africans.

As the numbers of asylum seekers have grown, so tensions have heated up in South Tel Aviv, where many Africans live side-by-side with Israelis.

In 2013, the Israeli government passed a law that deemed the Africans infiltrators and allowed them to be imprisoned in a desert detention facility, where they were first kept indefinitely, then for a 20-month maximum, and now for up to a year at a time.

It has also attempted to send asylum seekers to African countries that are not their homes, including Rwanda and Uganda. Some who were shipped back have reportedly been pressured to leave those countries, and fled to Europe. A few were killed by so-called Islamic State or drowned in the Mediterranean.

The asylum seekers have their supporters inside Israel. It’s not lost on some Israelis that many of the country’s first citizens were survivors of genocide in World War II. Of course, the creation of Israel also kicked off the Palestinians’ own refugee crisis � and politicians often refer to the “demographic threat” the Palestinians, both citizens of Israel and those in the occupied territories, pose to the country that defines itself as a Jewish state. Like the Palestinians, many of the African asylum seekers are Muslim.

Recently, Israel said it would grant 200 people from Darfur a status that would allow them to work and give them other rights. But it’s not clear how these people were selected out of the approximately 8,000 people who fled Sudan for Israel.

The years of limbo have taken their toll on Anwar. The political activist has had short-term visas, spent time in detention, and pleaded his case in court. He’s made friends in Israel, even speaks the language, but still hasn’t found stability or the protections the word refugee is supposed to afford.

Source: IRIN

News in Brief 31 July 2017 (PM)

Suicide attack against Iraqi embassy in Afghanistan condemnedAn attack on the Iraqi embassy in the Afghan capital, Kabul, was condemned by the UN Mission in the country (UNAMA) on Monday.The assault began when a bomber blew himself up at the embassy ga…

In Uganda’s Parliament, the Arc of the Moral Universe Bends Toward Sexism

On July 18, Uganda’s parliament sat in Kampala, the country’s capital, to discuss a motion calling on the government to prioritise the promotion and protection of children against violence. The debate came in the aftermath of a March 2017 police report showing that between 2010-2016 there has been a steady increase in crimes against women […]

East African Refugees Make Indefinite Home for Themselves in Indonesia

JAKARTA, INDONESIA Ranna, 24, an Oromo Ethiopian woman, is not only a third-generation refugee, but also a two-time refugee. Indonesia, which is home now, is the second place to which she has been displaced in her young life.

She was born in Saudi Arabia because her mother, the daughter of a prominent dissident, fled Ethiopia before her birth. But that country did not recognize asylum-seekers and she was officially stateless. After a brief interlude in Ethiopia, where she was deported to at age 16 and where she earned a bachelor’s degree, she was again forced to flee during a government crackdown on Oromo activists in 2015.

After a harrowing interlude in Djibouti, where she says Oromo asylum-seekers were being rounded up and deported because of an agreement with the Ethiopian government, Ranna’s smuggler booked her, her mother and her brother on a flight to Indonesia. It was a country where they knew no one and did not speak the language.

They were granted refugee status within a year and able to make a home in Pasar Minggu Baru, a South Jakarta neighborhood that abuts a commuter train line and station. Over the last three years, the neighborhood has come to house an enclave of East African refugees and asylum-seekers, some of whom arrived, like Ranna, through unscrupulous smugglers. Others got stuck in transit when Australia blocked maritime refugee arrivals in 2014.

Due to the seemingly intractable nature of many African conflicts and the lower levels of global awareness about marginalized groups like the Oromo, East African refugees tend to have some of the longest wait times for resettlement out of Indonesia, if they are resettled at all, according to Trish Cameron, an independent refugee lawyer based in Jakarta.

Pasar Minggu Baru community

There are about 200 East African families in the neighborhood, according to Cameron. Ranna said she finds it quite safe.

They don’t make you feel like a stranger, maybe because refugees have been hosted here for a long time, said Ranna. There also is a small Arab market nearby, a happy coincidence because her family speaks Arabic from their time in Saudi Arabia.

Although Ranna has been a Muslim her whole life, she began wearing a headscarf only when she moved to Jakarta, out of respect, she said, for her neighbors.

About 16 percent of the 14,093 refugees and asylum-seekers registered with UNHCR Indonesia are from East Africa, said Mitra Salima Suryono, a spokesperson for the agency. Most are from Somalia, Ethiopia and Sudan, plus a handful from Eritrea, Uganda and Mozambique.

Today, Ranna volunteers intensively as a translator � she is fluent in Oromo, Arabic, Amharic and English, and is now conversational in Bahasa Indonesia � to help asylum-seekers in her community prepare for their interviews.

Oromo unrest

The Oromo people are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, split about evenly between Muslims and Christians [Ethiopian Orthodox and Protestant], and account for about one-third of the country’s population.

The protests that began in 2015 grew out of a grass-roots movement led by students in the Oromia region. There also is a history of armed struggle for self-determination, however, led by the Oromo Liberation Front, an opposition group formed in 1973 after a military coup. The government has outlawed the OLF as a terrorist organization and blames anti-government protests on OLF and other groups that it labels anti-peace elements.

Ranna’s grandfather was a member of OLF and was the earliest family member to flee Ethiopia as a refugee. Although Ranna came to her homeland only as a young adult, she quickly picked up the nationalist energy that ran through her family. She became a prominent student activist and public health official, and was in her first year of medical school when she had to leave for Indonesia.

There is grief inside me whenever I think about our people, said Ranna. Even in my short time there I could see how wrong it was.

She spent a night in jail (it felt like a year) for her activism, but her middle brother suffered a worse fate before he could flee: He simply disappeared.

Human Rights Watch says more than 800 protesters have been killed since the unrest began in November 2015 and thousands more people have been arrested.

In December 2016, the Ethiopian government announced it would release nearly 10,000 people detained for rehabilitation.

Ranna’s youngest brother had just finished 10th grade when they fled, and in him, she sees signs of the aimless boredom that is now typical of the refugee experience in Indonesia, where refugees cannot legally work or attend school. Her mother has diabetes, and is in and out of hospitals.

She still manages to make spongy injera bread in their makeshift house. Ranna herself has acute anxiety and trouble sleeping at night, bearing, as she does, the weight of her family and community, and extant fears about the Ethiopian state.

Ranna doesn’t regret her activism, even as she and her family prepare for an indefinite stay in Indonesia. I couldn’t see people dying in front of me and do nothing, she said. I could not.

Source: Voice of America

ANALYSIS: THE REFUGEE SCANDAL UNFOLDING IN UGANDA

YUMBE (Uganda), Uganda, the country with the world’s fastest growing refugee burden, is failing to secure the help it needs to care for those forced across the border from South Sudan by war and hunger.

Close to one million South Sudanese refugees, 86 percent of them women and children, have settled in northern Uganda as a result of the crisis. On average, 2,000 people arrive each day.

The unprecedented mass influx is putting enormous strain on Uganda’s already limited public services, and fragile local resources like land, firewood, and water. That, in turn, is fanning tensions between the refugees and host communities.

The international community is struggling to respond to a crisis of this scale. In June, Uganda and the UN appealed for $2 billion to support the country’s total refugee caseload of 1.3 million for the next four years. Just $350 million has been raised.

That same month the World Food Programme cut its rations to refugees by 50 percent and warned of further cuts to come. WFP needs $117 million for the next six months, but has a $65 million funding gap.

Until fleeing to Uganda, Ben Lam was the county administrator for the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Magwi County, and a man of substance.

Now he is just another refugee in Arua district’s Imprevi settlement; dependent � like his wife, six biological children, and five additional kids he took in � on an unreliable supply of aid.

His list of needs is long, but whether we have something to eat or not, at least here is safe. We can sleep and move. A better time will come, provided that we are alive.

Uganda has been praised for its progressive refugee hosting policy. Refugees do not live in camps but looser settlements, and have the right to work and access social services.

The country was chosen as one of the key testing grounds for a new global compact � the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. The initiative is meant to ease the pressure on host countries, but the disappointing level of funding suggests it’s not off to a flying start.

Unless new funding is received in the coming weeks, WFP will not have enough cereals, maize meal, and beans to meet the full food needs of refugees in Uganda, said Lydia Wamala, a WFP spokeswoman in Kampala.

A UN report noted that Uganda spent over $323 million in 2016/17 on the protection and management of refugees, and on the provision of essential services. That is equivalent to 46 percent of the country’s annual education budget and 62 percent of its health expenditure.

But there are shortages across the board for the refugees encamped in five vast northern settlements � from shelter to healthcare and sanitation.

Ugandan host communities in the north have shown exceptional generosity by welcoming refugees with open arms, said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. However, this is not something Uganda can tackle alone.

Western public opinion is not only opposed to taking a greater share of the refugee burden, but it’s also against their government’s spending money to help refugees where they currently find themselves, said Phil Clark, a Great Lakes expert at SOAS, University of London. This leaves refugee populations extremely vulnerable.

Bidi Bidi is one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. As just one example of the needs, some 55,000 children are crammed into 12 overcrowded schools lacking teachers and learning materials.

Our refugee children are studying in temporary structures, said Robert Baryamwesiga, the settlement commandant for Bidi Bidi. They are supposed to [last for only] three months. Now we are going to a year and still using them.

According to Baryamwesiga, 50 percent of refugee children do not attend school. Many of them are unaccompanied or separated children, he noted.

Save the Children has warned of an education emergency. There is a real and present danger that an entire generation of refugee children will be deprived of the education they need to rebuild their lives, the agency said in a recent report.

Thousands more children are suffering from trauma and are not receiving the mental health support they need. It is vital these children receive dedicated, professional help, said Henry Makiwa, spokesman for the development agency World Vision UK.

To draw attention to the plight of the estimated 700 traumatised children that arrive in Uganda each week, World Vision has launched a #BearsOnStairs campaign. It will culminate with an event on the steps of London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday.

In theory, the refugees could be an asset rather than a burden to the host communities. Their presence should attract donor-funded development like roads and schools � part of the bargain the CRRF envisaged.

But a USAID report released in May warned that tension is rising between host communities and refugees over access to services and local resources.

The fact that refugees can access food but not the host communities is not going down well with some community members, the report said. Rising social tension between refugees and host communities has the potential to degenerate into secondary conflict.

In some cases, locals have already threatened refugees with violence, said Dennis Mbaguta, settlement commandant for Impevi.

We compete for resources like land and water, which don’t expand, he told IRIN. There are concerns over the environment as trees are being cut [down] and not replaced.’

According to Clark at SOAS, the growing perception in many host communities is that the state is privileging refugees over its own citizens.

Lino Ogora, a peace activist based in the northern town of Gulu, argues that the resentment of the host communities is an indicator of the poor facilities and services provided by the government to its own people.

The refugees should not be blamed for this, but rather the government should be the one to put its house in order.

The longer-term solution to the refugee crisis in Uganda lies in an end to the conflict in South Sudan. There, fighting since 2013 has internally displaced close to two million people and left 5.8 million in need of aid. But regional and international peace efforts have stalled and the violence shows no sign of abating.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

The refugee scandal unfolding in Uganda

Uganda, the country with the world’s fastest growing refugee burden, is failing to secure the help it needs to care for those forced across the border from South Sudan by war and hunger.

Close to one million South Sudanese refugees, 86 percent of them women and children, have settled in northern Uganda as a result of the crisis. On average, 2,000 people arrive each day.

The unprecedented mass influx is putting enormous strain on Uganda’s already limited public services, and fragile local resources like land, firewood, and water. That, in turn, is fanning tensions between the refugees and host communities.

The international community is struggling to respond to a crisis of this scale. In June, Uganda and the UN appealed for $2 billion to support the country’s total refugee caseload of 1.3 million for the next four years. Just $350 million has been raised.

south_sudan_refugees_getting_a_hot_meal_1.jpg

Samuel Okiror/IRIN
New arrival refugees receive daily food rations of maize grains (posho) and beans at Imvepi settlement

That same month the World Food Programme cut its rations to refugees by 50 percent and warned of further cuts to come. WFP needs $117 million for the next six months, but has a $65 million funding gap.

Until fleeing to Uganda, Ben Lam was the county administrator for the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Magwi County, and a man of substance.

Now he is just another refugee in Arua district’s Imprevi settlement; dependent – like his wife, six biological children, and five additional kids he took in – on an unreliable supply of aid.

His list of needs is long, but “whether we have something to eat or not, at least here is safe. We can sleep and move. A better time will come, provided that we are alive.”

Test Case

Uganda has been praised for its progressive refugee hosting policy. Refugees do not live in camps but looser settlements, and have the right to work and access social services.

The country was chosen as one of the key testing grounds for a new global compact – the “Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework”. The initiative is meant to ease the pressure on host countries, but the disappointing level of funding suggests it’s not off to a flying start.

“Unless new funding is received in the coming weeks, WFP will not have enough cereals, maize meal, and beans to meet the full food needs of refugees in Uganda,” said Lydia Wamala, a WFP spokeswoman in Kampala.

A UN report noted that Uganda spent over $323 million in 2016/17 on the protection and management of refugees, and on the provision of essential services. That is equivalent to 46 percent of the country’s annual education budget and 62 percent of its health expenditure.

But there are shortages across the board for the refugees encamped in five vast northern settlements – from shelter to healthcare and sanitation.

“Ugandan host communities in the north have shown exceptional generosity by welcoming refugees with open arms,” said Charlie Yaxley, a spokesman for UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. “However, this is not something Uganda can tackle alone.”

Western public opinion is not only opposed to taking a greater share of the refugee burden, but it’s also against “their government’s spending money to help refugees where they currently find themselves,” said Phil Clark, a Great Lakes expert at SOAS, University of London. “This leaves refugee populations extremely vulnerable.”

an_elderly_south_sudan_woman_carrying_her_meal_for_the_day.jpg

Samuel Okiror
An elderly woman carrying her meal at Imvepi

Shortages

Bidi Bidi is one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. As just one example of the needs, some 55,000 children are crammed into 12 overcrowded schools lacking teachers and learning materials.

“Our refugee children are studying in temporary structures,” said Robert Baryamwesiga, the settlement commandant for Bidi Bidi. “They are supposed to [last for only] three months. Now we are going to a year and still using them.”

According to Baryamwesiga, 50 percent of refugee children do not attend school. “Many of them are unaccompanied or separated children,” he noted.

Save the Children has warned of an education emergency. “There is a real and present danger that an entire generation of refugee children will be deprived of the education they need to rebuild their lives,” the agency said in a recent report.

Thousands more children are suffering from trauma and are not receiving the mental health support they need. “It is vital these children receive dedicated, professional help,” said Henry Makiwa, spokesman for the development agency World Vision UK.

To draw attention to the plight of the estimated 700 traumatised children that arrive in Uganda each week, World Vision has launched a #BearsOnStairs campaign. It will culminate with an event on the steps of London’s Saint Paul’s Cathedral on Thursday.

Rising tensions

In theory, the refugees could be an asset rather than a burden to the host communities. Their presence should attract donor-funded development like roads and schools – part of the bargain the CRRF envisaged.

But a USAID report released in May warned that tension is rising between host communities and refugees over access to services and local resources.

“The fact that refugees can access food but not the host communities is not going down well with some community members,” the report said. ”Rising social tension between refugees and host communities has the potential to degenerate into secondary conflict.”

south_sudenese_children_washing_thier_hands_upon_arrival_at_impevi_settlement.jpg

Samuel Okiror/IRIN
South Sudanese children washing their hands after getting off the bus. About 2,000 refugees cross into Uganda every day

In some cases, locals have already threatened refugees with violence, said Dennis Mbaguta, settlement commandant for Impevi.

“We compete for resources like land and water, which don’t expand,” he told IRIN. “There are concerns over the environment as trees are being cut [down] and not replaced.’

According to Clark at SOAS, “the growing perception in many host communities is that the state is privileging refugees over its own citizens.”

Lino Ogora, a peace activist based in the northern town of Gulu, argues that the resentment of the host communities “is an indicator of the poor facilities and services provided by the government to its own people”.

The refugees should not be blamed for this, “but rather the government should be the one to put its house in order.”

The longer-term solution to the refugee crisis in Uganda lies in an end to the conflict in South Sudan. There, fighting since 2013 has internally displaced close to two million people and left 5.8 million in need of aid. But regional and international peace efforts have stalled and the violence shows no sign of abating.

so/oa/ag

The refugee scandal unfolding in Uganda a_south_sudan_baby_being_immunised.jpg Samuel Okiror Analysis Migration YUMBE IRIN Uganda