Uganda has concluded a comprehensive exercise of verify the identities of all refugees and asylum-seekers in the country.
With support of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, verification exercise was contacted in various refugee host communities in the country peddled at confirming the number of refugees and asylum-seekers registered in Uganda and enhancing the quality of data and improving assistance management and the overall support for refugees
According to the Minister of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Hillary Onek said the number of refugees and asylum-seekers registered by the government as of the March 1, 2018 was 1,444,856 individuals.
He said, by the end of the verification exercise 1,092,213 individuals had been verified as present representing 76 per cent of the initial target.
“Since March this year, 62,139 new arrivals mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan were registered, bringing the active registered population in Uganda to 1,154,352 individuals as of end of October. These objectives were achieved through the completion of the verification exercise and the roll out of the advanced biometric registration system,” he said.
He said, government of Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies, allowing refugees and asylum-seekers to live in gazette refugee settlements and exercise freedom of movement and settlement within the country.
“Government has provided a grace period of two months within which any registered refugee and asylum-seeker who missed the exercise, can approach OPM for verification. Taking this into consideration, the above verification numbers are preliminary. A more detailed analysis will be undertaken after the grace period,”
He said the difference between the initial verification target stands at 352,643 individuals, 255,490 individuals were verified as inactive and closed for the following reasons:
a) 158,533 individuals whose whereabouts are unknown as reported by family members;
b) 34,174 were reported by their families to have returned to their countries of origin;
c) 9,481 were identified to have registered more than once; e) 3,931 were reported deceased;
f) 1,489 were closed as they were Ugandan nationals; and (g) a verification exercise by OPM in April 2018 confirmed the urban refugee population to be 55,812.