Rwandan Refugee Rights in Uganda: Between Law and Practice-Views from Below

Frank Ahimbisibwe
IOB Working paper 2017.07

Uganda is a host country to refugees from neighboring countries including Rwanda. By the end of 2015, Uganda was the 8th and 3rd top refugee hosting country in the world and Africa respectively with around 512,968 refugees on its soil. This number had increased to over 900,000 by December 2016. By May 2017, Uganda was the second refugee hosting country in the world, with over 1.2 million refugees. Although Uganda has been praised world wide as being friendly to refugees, its policy and treatment of Rwandan refugees has been inconsistent with international obligations. There is a discrepancy between the rights they are entitled to under international and municipal law and the ones they enjoy in practice. This article analyzes this discrepancy from the refugees’ point of view by focusing on specific rights like non-discrimination, life, asylum, liberty and security of person and the principle of non-refoulement. The paper inquires into the factors behind Uganda’s violation of Rwandan refugee rights and proposes measures for enhancing the protection of their rights.

Key words: Rwandan refugees, Refugee rights, Human rights law, Refugee law, Uganda, Rwanda

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