Consider Refugees in the threats to shut down Sim-Cards in Uganda
The Uganda Communication Commission is threatening to shut down all Sim-Cards which are now re-registered by April 20th, 2017, but they have not yet taken into refugees in Uganda.
At Uganda Communication Commission
We have received information through different channels that you intend to shut down all Sim-Cards which are not Re-registered. Many refugees have received messages from the Communication Companies and have tried to register but in vain using their Refugee Card Numbers. The process requires a national ID number and does not have options for those who are not nationals.
Refugees here in Uganda are in a total confusion and worried about what to do especially that the Phone Connection is highly linked to refugee livelihood here in Uganda. Let us remind you that as per now Uganda is the host of more than 1,200,000 refugees who are likely to suffer so much by this decision. Almost all these refugees come from countries where English is not used as the language of communication and while in Uganda English language is not among the humanitarian services given to them when they come.
The majority of the messages used is either in English or in local languages which are not spoken by refugees and this has limited them to access information about this new registration process. Some refugees have visited offices of different Communication Companies like Airtel, MTN and Africell which are the most used by refugees but they were told to bring the national ID Cards.
Many refugees who stay in different camps here in Uganda have no access to even Customer Cares Center of all these Communication Companies because these centers do not exist there.
Putting into consideration that refugees are legally staying here in Uganda with IDs granted by the Government of Uganda, we urge you for the following:
1. Extend the deadline for the re-registration for a period of three months from now,
2. Work closely with the Office of the Prime Minister Department of Refugees in order to handle better this matter and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,
3. Start massive refugee awareness campaigns in their communities and as refugee leaders we are willing to support you in this,
4. Provide Centers where refugees can Re-register their Sim-Cards from near them especially those who are in camps and in many places where refugees resident here in urban centers,
5. Provide options for refugees to register using their phones and in languages which they understand better,
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos