Headline August 04, 2017/ ''' UGANDA -PENUMBRA- *UMBRA* '''


Uganda, South Sudan, Mali, Burundi, Sierra Leone, Eritrea, Madagascar, Liberia, Togo, Congo...........? 

Are Students, Professors and Teachers in these countries aware that the World Students Society, belongs to every single student in those countries, just as it belongs to every single student in the world-

Who will inform these countries and students that at the World Students Society beautiful  preparations are afoot, under the auspices if the great Students, Professors and Teachers of America : To hold Global Elections? 

From Zilli's masterful research,......... for which I am eternally grateful, I understand that the future off these wretchedly poor countries is just wishful thinking. They have sunk in poverty  right up to their eyeballs.

So, please allow me to have, Student Seher  Khan, King's College, UK, to help watch these countries on regular basis and suggest urgent solutions for the World Students Society to further research and  mull? 

IN APRIL the Dutch public broadcasting agency of NOS published a story in Uganda   ''the refugee paradise'' ...... The article was titled:

''Welcome refugee! Uganda welcomes you with open arms!''. A South Sudanese colleague frowned after reading the translated article. ''How can they see this as paradise?'' he asked.

Uganda's refugee policy has received much media coverage in recent months. The country is currently hosting around 1.2 million refugees from neighbouring South Sudan, which is involved in a brutal, and endless war.

Uganda's refugee policy is indeed progressive and open, and the country's attitude may be remarkable in light of the high degree of resistance that refugees experience in other parts of the world today.

In Uganda, refugees are given small plots of land on which to build houses and cultivate crops, and they are allowed to work and move freely within the country. 

Because of this basic premise,  Uganda's refugee policy has been lauded as one of the most progressive in the world. But what happens in reality is not as exemplary as has been reported in the media.

First, the narrative is politically useful  for different groups in Western countries. On the one hand, it allows  Western governments to push forward with the externalisation of their asylum policy.

For example, the EU's emergency trust fund for Africa is already aiming to to externalise the bloc's asylum policy and to tackle migration  ''at the roots''.

Uganda's success story allows it to show that African countries are also able to host refugees, which in turn supports European efforts to withhold migrants and refugees before they reach the EU borders.      

On the other hand, the positive narrative strengthens hands of people pushing for a more liberal and open refugee policy in the West : ''Look, if this poor country in Africa can host all these refugees, we should certainly do it!''

Second, the story also comes in handy for Uganda. At best the country can be described as a  ''hybrid'' democratic regime. The success story allowed it to deflect attention from its semi-authoritarian tendencies, as shown in the regime's recent efforts to abolish presidential term limits-

[Effectively allowing a presidency for life], or neglect the international call for an independent investigation into the  army's behaviour in a conflict in Western Uganda.

Equally, the narrative,  on its hospitality allows  Uganda to crucially deflect attention from its involvement in the South Sudanese conflict and particularly in support for  Salva Kiir.
Third the  Ugandan success story is crucial for  NGOs and humanitarian aid agencies. They use stories like this one to raise much needed funds for the victims of South Sudanese crisis.

All these hidden interests naturally make it difficult for journalists to tell a nuanced story about refugee experiences in Uganda. But, the way journalists obtain stories about  Uganda's refugee policy is also part of the problem.

Much of the reporting on the issue is done through press trips organized by embassies  or humanitarian organisations. This kind of a hit-and-run journalism consists of a number of  pre-arranged field visits and interviews, highlighting the positive work of the organisation and Uganda's refugee policy.

So, presenting Uganda's refugee policy as a success story benefits all actors concerned and makes journalists' job a lot easier. But how is this narrative affecting the refugees?
It is true that Uganda and the humanitarian organisations working in the region are making enormous effort to host the refugees. But they are not offering long term solutions and the refugees future in Uganda is, still in question.

The humanitarian agencies will eventually scale down their efforts and leave, and the refugees won't be able survive solely by cultivating the small plots of land given to them by the government.

These lands are too small to provide a decent living and the local population officially still officially owns them. As a result the refugees are constantly feeling uncertain about their future in the country for good reason.  

Such one sided successes stories states, author Julie Schlitz and Kristof Titeca, depicting Uganda's refugee policy as an example to the world, hamper a critical questioning and a debate about the durable solutions for the fundamental problems that South Sudan refugees are facing.

Also, such rosy presentations  may be particularly  offensive for the people whose harsh reality is buried under superlatives. So maybe instead of praising Uganda it is time to ask questions:

Why is Uganda's policy so progressive? Who wins, and who loses? And what does this refugee policy mean in practice, in the experiences of the refugees and host communities who are subject to it? 

With respectful dedication to the Leaders, Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of Uganda, South Sudan, Sierra Leone,  Mali, Burundi, Chad. See Ya all on !WOW!   -the World Students Society and Twitter-!E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' !WOW!- Paradise '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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