Letter to the German Embassy in Uganda: Meet refugees leaders in all their diversities
There are allegations that the German Embassy to Uganda is preparing to receive a high delegation from Germany which is intending to visit refugees in Kampala.
We are so much concerned that refugees who have selected for this meeting do not represent the views of all refugees and they were selected because of their royalty to the refugee regime in Uganda. While independent refugee leaders are being left out because of their open mind.
We have seen that over the years this has been the trend to control what refugees should speak to visitors who come here to evaluate their situation.
The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to Uganda
Your Excellency the Ambassador,
Re: We demand that you engage with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for an inclusive meeting with all refugee representatives in Kampala in their diversities in their meeting with a delegation from Germany,
It with so much joy that we have been informed about a high delegation from the Federal Republic of Germany intending to visit refugees in Uganda and hear from them about their plight and misery as well as success and optimism. For the last few weeks consistent allegations have indicated the preparatory meetings bringing together some refugees have been held at InterAid Uganda on issues which will be presented to the visitors from Germany.
Here in Uganda we strongly cherish the Federal Republic of Germany for its unique example to unconditionally receive our fellow refugees from Syria and strongly believe that Germany will be a good example for other countries to imitate in Europe and in the world, and on top of that the Federal Republic of Germany has been among the top contributors of Humanitarian Relief to refugees in Uganda, we greatly thank you so much for that.
While it is crucial for refugees here in Uganda to engage with such an important delegation like yours in order to share our vision, and add value to address effectively the challenges faced by refugees, and crucial for the delegation to interact with the beneficiaries and observe the impart of their assistance to refugees, often times high delegations like this is often given opportunities to speak to refugees highly coached and under surveillance by the refugee regime in Uganda.
From the choice of participants to meet the delegation: These are refugees who are often called on phone based on their royalty to speak what they were told, those who are well known as good collaborators, cannot complain for the lack of better services but will thank the refugee regime for what is being done for the few. This way of doing things is often prepared by both InterAid Uganda and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and do all what is possible to leave aside all refugee leaders who they perceive as having free minds to speak what they face.
The content of the presentation: In most cases the content is highly influenced by InterAid Uganda during preparatory meetings with refugees and takes into consideration elements which will cover and praise the work of the refugee regime, show how it working hard to solve refugee situation, in most cases leaves out the questions of the accountability of the International Aid which is the hands of the few,
We are ware about the general political and diplomatic pressure of the Government of Uganda to seek more support from the international community in the name of alleviating the misery of refugees in Uganda but as we observe from the field one among the questions why refugees are suffering in Uganda is not the lack of sufficient aid but who does the available aid benefits. And the increase of the aid will not address that but the real engagement of those who give the aid to ensure that it reaches to the real concerned people, to put in place transparent mechanism and then ensure that the refugee regime is accountable to refugees but also at the same time empower refugees so that they can demand for better services.
Over the years we have seen different delegations coming to Uganda and visiting refugees but the same things have been done to welcome and often they leave Uganda with one side of the reality. We have not hesitated to write to them but often they have cited “diplomacy” why they cannot meet other refugee leaders who have not been mobilized by the refugee regime here in Uganda. While Uganda is praised in the Diplomatic world for its open door policies and progressive policies for refugees, this has not taken into consideration the psychological torture imposed to refugees who are pieced by such diplomatic language especially those who were forced to run away in their countries by Uganda troops, those who are denied humanitarian relief aid, those who are not protected, those who exposed to recruitment by armed groups and those whose future is compromised in Uganda because they are only kept in store.
We strongly believe that in such meetings the delegation can request that all refugees in their diversities are represented especially those who have different opinions. The experience has indicated that once actors of the refugee regime here in Uganda are exposed to different opinions from refugees in such kind of meetings, they always go back and try to improve the situation in one way or the other.
As we wait for that announced delegation from the Federal Republic of Germany to meet refugees here in Uganda, we do request you to engage with the UNHCR and InterAid Uganda to ensure that refugees are represented in their diversity of opinions. We have demanded this members of the delegations which visit refugees in Uganda especially whom we have their contacts and we demand the same to you.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees