The Speaker while at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva

The Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has criticized African leaders for the rising number of African refugees to Europe and North America, who make dangerous crossings through the Mediterranean, while fleeing harsh economic conditions and conflicts in their countries.

In the recent past, up to 13 million Africans have endured the deadly journey through the Mediterranean and other dangerous routes to Europe, with many living under constant threat of arrest and deportation.

“Today, many of our countries are independent, yet the violation of human rights, insecurity, exclusion from social and economic opportunities, conflict, injustice and corruption have caused the involuntary migration of millions, to a life of uncertainty, torture, slavery and incarceration in squalid conditions and in detention camps in Europe,” said Kadaga.

The Speaker was presenting at the 138th Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly in Geneva under the theme ‘Strengthening the Global Regions for migrants and refugees; the need for evidence based policy solutions’.

Kadaga hailed Uganda’s refugee policy, but said the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) should extend infrastructure and environmental support to the country.

“Our hosting of refugees has come at a cost in terms of the destruction of the environment. The refugees do not come with firewood from their countries; they have destroyed our environment.  It is important the UNHCR puts in place re-afforestation programs for the host countries,” said Speaker Kadaga.

Uganda has been hailed as an ideal refugee hosting country, a credential boosted by the Refugee Summit held in June 2017.

In presence of international dignitaries including the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres, the country raised over $350 million.

Experts blame the growing number of mainly African immigrants to Europe on harsh political environments, unemployment and the ever growing population.

East African Legislative Assembly Speaker Martin Ngoga said Parliaments should address income inequality, which he said is a main cause of ‘refugeeism’.

“It is imperative for Parliaments to ensure that the Member States and regional blocs re-affirm commitments to the observance of peace and security, and address inequalities and parity to resource allocation,” said Ngoga.

The conference comes at a time when rightist anti-immigration parties are having growing political influence in Europe and the Americas.