PPDR UGANDA E-NEWS LETTER END OF AUGUST 2013
This e-news- letter contains major activities at PPDR Uganda and general information in refugee communities in Kampala Uganda. The bravery and uncounted sacrifices made by refugees to play their part of responsibility when they noticed that refugee issues are too complicated and too big to be left to the UNHCR alone.
THREE PPDR MEMBERS RELEASED ON POLICE BOND
Three members of PPDR Uganda were arrested detained at Musajjaalumbwa police post for 4 days, later on they were transferred to Old Kampala Police Station for one day before they were released on police bond. Officially they were suspects in case where PPDR lost mysterious three laptops and many documents from the offices. They included Kulihoshi Muiskami Pecos, Joyeux Mbiso and Francis who mainly have the keys to the offices. The police have not helped PPDR Uganda to recover back the stolen items because there is no serious investigation which has been made up to know on contrary the police got confiscated Pecos laptop for three days, searched Pecos house and took number of things including his pass- port and took number of confidential documents from the laptop as Pecos is also being accused of taking a strong position to defend and promote human rights especially for refugees in Uganda.
PECOS IN A MATCHING FOR REFUGEE RIGHTS
This has left us with many questions about the real intention of the police? And why Pecos is being particularly targeted? PPDR Uganda thanks everyone who helped in this situation and please let us know if you may also want to help refugees who are arrested and detained in different places.
THE COMPUTER TRAINING
The computer training is conducted every day from Monday to Friday at the offices of PPDR Uganda and this month 13 students have completed their three months training. These refugees are now becoming skilled people who will help in different areas where these skills are needed for the development of the country and their own development. Let us mention that we only have four computers which are used for the training and that is why we can only train a small number of refugees. We are calling upon people of good will who can offer us may be a new or a used computer or laptop to contact us, in doing so you will have contributed for the protection of many refugees in Uganda. Send us an email at We currently have connections in different countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, New-Zeland, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, the Netherland, and India. Our contacts in these countries can help in this exercise.
REFUGEE CHILD CARE AND EDUCATION PROGRAMME
This month all our children started their holidays for the second term which they started on Friday August 16th, 2013 and which will end in September 16th, 2010. and to know more about what our challenges are open the link:
REFUGEE CHILDREN AT PPDR POSING TO THANK THEIR DONORS
More than 80 refugee children sat for their second term exams and many among them performed well. We all need to work hard so that these children can finish their last term in December 2013 because they are affronted to number of challenges which need the attention of the teachers both at school and in their communities. To support this programme open the link:
EVERY REFUGEE CHILD NEEDS A CLASS AND A QUALIFIED, MOTIVATED AND WELL SUPPORTED TEACHER IN THEIR RESPECTIVE COMMUNITIES IN UGANDA. THE EDUCATION FOR ALL REFUGEE CHILDREN IS THE FIRST PROTECTION TO REFUGEE CHILDREN.
This month the counseling programme has been conducted by one counselor but has also traveled back to her country for family affairs. We also still ask you to pray for a quick recovery of Anja who is improving from the sickness and hope that she comes back to Uganda to help refugees who are waiting for her services in counseling and life skills.
GROUP DISCUSSION AT PPDR UGANDA
Now we have a long list of refugees who are waiting for the services but we are short of human resource. Do you think you can volunteer with us in counseling, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our ultimate end of the counseling is to help refugees to cope up with the situation and discover new ways to adapt to the new situation through ideas of fighting poverty, lack of jobs and life skills for many refugees. PPDR Uganda puts a net link between poverty and psychological problems among refugees in Uganda and in most the lack of basic needs is the major cause of trauma affecting many refugees but in most cases they fail to get a way out.
ENGLISH FOR ADULTS
Many refugees come to Uganda from English non speaking countries and as soon as they get in, they exposed to language problems. In our efforts to solve this we set up the English classes to refugees and currently PPDR Uganda is operating two classes with a total number of more than 60 students from D R Congo, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia and some Ugandans. We are currently working on the new PPDR own curriculum which will help refugees to go beyond the language and give them a possibility to integrate in the communities and defend their rights which is the core value of PPDR Uganda. We conduct classes from Monday to Friday and from 2- 5 pm at our offices. After English lessons refugees should be prepared to access job or to create a job for themselves and this English should be utilized to advocate for better services and news approaches to respond to the current refugee issues in Uganda.
ENGLISH FOR ADULTS CLASS AT PPDR UGANDA
RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY
We managed to intervene for the release of refugees who were arrested at Old Kampala and Musajja Alumbwa police and more others were released in partnership with the Congolese Community in Uganda. The team has also helped refugees who wanted their testimonies to be worked on and translated into English so that they may be helped in various offices. We also organized a week of activities calling upon the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Uganda Government to make August 21sta National Refugee Day in Uganda in remembrance of refugees who were brutally arrested and sentenced for 9 months because they were demanding for better services.The team has also participated in different call for actions by Amnesty International on behalf of people at risk and the call by Civil Society Organizations in the D R Congo for an International Criminal Tribunal for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The team is also pushing for the shift of perceptions from the current approach of acts of mercy which is being practiced by actors in the refugee regime in Uganda while helping refugees. Considering the services given to refugees as acts of mercy does not help refugees to demand for better services but forces them to be thankful for what is given to them. We are pushing for a human rights approach which will give an opportunity to refugees to think, analyze and criticize what is being done for them and propose better and innovative ways of dealing with refugee problem like refugee participation, accountability and equal sharing of the available resources. In this month two open letters have been addressed to the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees and to the Office of the Prime Minister Directorate of Refugees Uganda Government. The team is strongly involved in the Refugee Grass root Education Working Group which is spearheaded by PADEAP Uganda. We are also strongly contributing to different meetings which are being organized by FENU and PPDR has particular attention in quality education and education in emergency which will cop up with a policy for the education of refugees in Uganda. Number ideas have been generated from all different meetings and up to now we are waiting for the Uganda Government and the UNHCR to start putting in place what we have suggested.
PPDR coordination team has attended number of outside meetings especially the ones organized by PADEAP Uganda on refugee education which has so far come out with two important decisions: The refugee education working group and the urgent need to follow the issue of Congolese refugees who face challenges to enroll in different schools here in Uganda because their papers are not recognized by the Uganda government.We also had a meeting with Uganda Red Cross on the issue of Rwandan refugees who were expelled from Tanzania and who are now in Uganda. We met a research team from CREN on the education of refugee child mothers and also held number of discussions with refugee group leaders on the opportunity to fundraise online through GlobalGiving.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT REFUGEES IN UGANDA
The Uganda Security Services rescued a Rwandan asylum seeker who was kidnapped from Uganda and for the first the United Nations Offices in Uganda issued a statement on the situation of Rwandan refugees in Uganda. This is the first in more than 15 years for UN to take the move and really feel concerned about refugees in Uganda, two more others who were also kidnapped are still missing. Let us also inform you that three Congolese refugees who were living here in Uganda were kidnapped and are arrested in Kinshasa D R Congo.
THE REFUGEE PENTECOSTAL CHURCHES PROMISES TO REFUGEES
There are many refugee owned churches mushrooming in Kampala, the cause is the high misery affecting refugees and the pastors claiming that refugees are poor and suffering because they don't pray or because they sinned against God. The other one is the impossibilities of refugees to meet the UNHCR staffs to expose their problems, so in this situation the pastors are claiming having the solution which is very simple. They invite people to churches to pray for the whole week from morning up evening and sometimes serious fasting so that God can listen to refugee problems and then after God will explain to UNHCR officials the problems refugees are facing. The most request for refugees in Uganda is resettlement to a third country of asylum generally western countries. But the question is does God really talk to UNHCR Senior Protection Officers about refugees in Uganda?
RWANDAN REFUGEES EXPELLED FROM TANZANIA
According to information which we have been receiving from the media especially the weekly Observed News Paper, NTV and other media, these refugees are more than 1,500 who are currently in Rakai District in Uganda on a land which belongs to the Catholic Church and to the Buganda Kingdom. PPDR believes that this is the golden opportunity for the Catholic Church in Uganda and the Buganda Kingdom to break the silence and get involved in refugees affairs in Uganda which refugees are yearning for. So far we thank the church and the Kingdom for their hospitality to offer the opportunity to refugees to settle on this land.
So far the Uganda Government has claimed that these people are just illegal immigrants but not refugees, this stand exposes these refugees to number of human rights abuses and possible deportation to Rwanda where they believe their lives will be at risk. Join us to ask the Uganda Government to grant refugee status to these Rwandan asylum seekers in Uganda, you can also support financially PPDR advocacy team and enable it to visit these refugees regularly in Rakai in order to monitor their situation make an alarm where necessary.
INFLUX OF CONGOLESE REFUGEES IN UGANDA
As Congolese refugees continue coming to Uganda, the refugee regime blocked at team from CNN to visit refugee Transit Centers in Bundibugyo. A UNHCR officer commented that the regime did not want the dignity of refugees to be commercialized; this has left many people to only access edited information from UNHCR and its partner organizations which may be far from the reality. Let us add the intention of the CNN team was to respond to the international solidarity for refugees in what UNHCR calls responsibility sharing but they were not given the opportunity and that is the major challenges refugees are facing when the UNHCR fail to recognize that it is not in control of the situation of refugees in Uganda. Instead of inviting other partners to come in and support the UNHCR discourages those who come in to help, as consequence we cannot have different information about refugees in Uganda a part from the edited information from UNHCR Uganda.
FATAL ACCIDENT KILLED 17 REFUGEES IN UGANDA
This month again more than 17 Congolese refugees died in a road accident while being taken to Kyangwali refugee camp. This has not been the first, in the last five years there have been number of refugees dying while being relocated, this raises questions on the people involved and the protection of refugees during this exercise, we cannot continue blaming human error, this may be beyond that. This is also attracting our attention about refugees who are dying of curable diseases and from the consequences of poverty which are men created situations.
GABRIEL MUGARUKA RELEASED ON POLICE BOND
Uganda may not be a green land for human rights defenders, everything is possible and everything can happen. Gabriel Mugaruka a refugee human rights defender was arrested and detained at Kabalgala Police Station for two days before being released, thanks to the Congolese Community in Uganda which secured his release. Congolese refugee human rights defenders are facing a serious problem in Uganda because they have no one to defend them when they face challenges during the exercise of their duties as human rights defenders.
CLASSIC GAME TO WATCH TODAY: QUALITY EDUCATION V QUANTITY EDUCATION
For my friends who watch football, this is a classic game like Barcelon and Real Madrid, or Manchester United and Chelsea or Spain and Brasil, where fans are not sure who will win until the last second of the game. For those who follow refugee issues in Uganda, this is the case of a serious football game between the Quality Education which is being supported by western players which gives the chance to few refugee children to study in what is said "GOOD CONDITIONS" and the Quantity Education which being supported by African players and which gives the chance to all refugee children to study in what is said "BAD CONDITIONS". In other words, if you are to choose between the two which one can advise us to take? Remember that we are refugees in Uganda and this game should end so that we can celebrate the victory of the few in schools or all in schools. Please you are the fan, tell us which one do you support, send us a message on
OUR POSITION AT PPDR" we don't care whether refugee children have to sit on the floor, under a tree or under a modern roof, what we only want is the education for all refugee children and we are afraid if all refugee children don't access education that means they will not be protected".
VOLUNTEER AND INTERNSHIP
Kizy Roy from Canada has completed her two months volunteering at PPDR in the department of Adults Education programme. We thank her for her great support and the job well done and we wish her the best in her endeavors.
GRANT FROM THE JAPAN GOVERNMENT TO REFUGEES IN UGANDA
This month some few refugee leaders were invited by the Inter Aid Uganda to inform them about a grant from Japan Government to Urban refugee programs in Uganda. This a positive move if the information will no longer be for the few but for all, however those who attended the meeting were disappointed because they were not asked their views on how best could the funds be used in order to benefit refugees and avoid what happened during the funds from the French Embassy to Inter Aid. No one knows how much is the money and what it is intended to do and how it will be used?
MAJOR PROBLEMS IN REFUGEE COMMUNITIES
During this month, many refugees have been confronted with family conflicts between parents and children mainly girls. The parents have been pushing for children to remain at home waiting for a time when they will be called for resettlement but girls have wanted to start their lives. Unfortunately the information about resettlement is still for UNHCR alone; all our attempts to ask the UNHCR to mitigate resettlement have not yield fruits. In number of cases refugee young girls have managed to get pregnant and for many parents this has been unacceptable as they believe it will slow down the resettlement process, as consequence this has exposed many refugee young girls to unsafe abortion.
LIVING WITH REBELS OF M23 IN UGANDA EXPOSES REFUGES TO RISKS
Congolese refugees in Uganda are getting difficult to live together with rebels of M23 in Uganda, especially in Kampala where some are staying or do come each time for their different activities such as buying things they need. The high presence of the rebels of M23 in Kampala has made many Congolese refugees stay now in hide because some refugees have problems with these rebels. It is exposing refugees for Uganda to host M23 rebels in what is called Peace Talks which has pushed the M23 to hold political activities here in Uganda such as demonstrations and recruitment of refugees into their rebel activities.
There have been rumors of refugees being called for resettlement in this September and this has also pushed many refugees to create stories showing that this is the last opportunity for refugees to get resettled and whoever does not go through will lose the chance. In the process of going through, refugees have been directed on how they can give money to specific people in the refugee regime so that they may be helped or to the police or to Mulago Hospital. Some refugees claim to be well connected with people in these offices to facilitate others and ready to offer the services at a certain fee.
As the refugee system has not yet done enough to end rumors of corruption practices, Congolese refugees in Uganda were passing through information about refugees who were resettled to Canada claiming that they were Congolese but later on the Canadian Government realized that they were Ugandans and handed them over to Congolese Embassy in Canada. These rumors do point out one thing, the lack of information and the unwillingness of the refugee regime to disseminate information to refugees, these rumors can also help researchers to identify the great center of interest to focus on while conducting a research.
Kulihoshi Musikami Pecos
COORDINATOR/ PPDR UGANDA