Kampala, Uganda, August 25, 2021 — IRC Uganda Country Director, Elijah Okeyo said:
“The IRC is proud to be complementing the efforts of the Government of Uganda and US embassy to receive and support 51 Afghan evacuees that arrived in Uganda at 7.53am this morning. The IRC will be supporting the Afghan evacuees with reception, accomodation, health care and general welfare services during their temporary stay in Uganda.“
“Uganda has a long history and tradition of welcoming refugees from all over the world and is one of the world’s largest refugee hosting countries, with 1.5 million refugees mainly from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The evacuees from Afghanistan will stay temporarily in Uganda whilst in transit whilst applying for asylum to countries of resettlement such as the US. The IRC has been supporting refugees and displaced people in Uganda since 1998. “
The IRC now calls on the US and UK to take immediate steps to ensure the protection of at-risk persons by rapidly scaling up the protection pathways they have announced and ensure there aren’t gaps in programming that leave people behind. There are many Afghans who urgently need their cases processed and Afghans who are eligible for the P2 program who may not be able to travel to a third country or wait months to years for a program to be scaled up. Bureaucratic delays and narrow eligibility cannot be cause for people to be left at risk.
THE IRC IN UGANDA
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Uganda empowers post-conflict communities and refugees to recover in safety and build a productive, peaceful, and healthy future. By promoting high quality durable solutions that deliver on the interdependent aims of saving lives, strengthening institutions, and supporting social cohesion, the IRC is laying the building blocks for long-term stability and development, and is bringing people from harm to home. The IRC began programming in 1998 in northern Uganda in response to mass displacement wrought by the Lord's Resistance Army. Since then, the IRC has expanded to provide critical services for refugees and vulnerable Ugandans throughout the country. The IRC started supporting refugees and vulnerable individuals in Kampala in 2012, and was one of the first organizations to respond in 2016 at the onset of the South Sudanese refugee crisis. As of 2019, the IRC entered Tooro to support refugees while also providing epidemic preparedness and response services throughout the region. In addition to emergency support, the IRC also invests in long-term stability for refugees and Ugandans through programs like immunization, family planning, legal services, women's empowerment, education, and livelihoods.
THE IRC IN AFGHANISTAN
In Afghanistan, the IRC has delivered aid for 30 years and last year reached 1 million Afghans with vital services spanning emergency cash and livelihoods support, through to girls education and Safe Healing and Learning Spaces for women. The IRC is staying to continue work to support displaced populations as a result of recent events.