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Minister Joe McHugh announces €600,000 in humanitarian funding for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda

Budget/funding, News/feature, Uganda, South Sudan, 2016

Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh TD, today visited Uganda's border region with South Sudan and announced €600,000 in new humanitarian assistance for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.

The Minister was visiting Adjumani refugee settlement in Northern Uganda, together with Ugandan State Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Musa Ecweru MP.

The announcement comes in the wake of a renewal of hostilities in South Sudan, which has raised the prospect of an increase in the numbers of refugees seeking safety in Uganda.

Speaking from Adjumani refugee settlement, the Minister said:

"Today, I have heard first hand the stories of the refugees who have fled over the border to Uganda from South Sudan. The brutal conflict in South Sudan has caused immense human suffering - the refugees I met today are desperate for peace and the chance to build a life for themselves free from fear and violence.

"The renewed violence and killings over the weekend will only bring more suffering. There is a clear obligation on all sides, and especially on their leaders, to halt the violence immediately. In the interests of the people of South Sudan, they need to fully implement the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan - and finally to give peace and development a chance.

"I have not only been impressed by the fortitude and courage of the refugees I met today, but also by the generous welcome they have been given by the Ugandan Government and people. Uganda hosts well over 500,000 refugees, making this the third largest refugee population to be hosted by any country in sub-Saharan Africa and the eighth largest in the world. It is very often the world's poorer countries who are at the front line of the global humanitarian and migration crisis. Despite Uganda's own challenges in tackling poverty, it generously welcomes refugees who have fled conflict in their own countries, and implements a very progressive refugee policy.

"The Ugandan Government is working hard to offer hope to the South Sudanese refugees through education and temporary homes. I would like to acknowledge the powerful partnership effort by the Government and all the stakeholders to give renewed hope to a displaced population and set them on the road to reclaim their dignity, as they await for peace and a return to their homeland of South Sudan.

"I have also seen the crucial and challenging work of the UN Agencies and NGOs, in partnership with the Ugandan Government, to ensure that refugees have access to food, water and sanitation, health services, education and protection. In support of this effort, I am pleased to announce new funding by Ireland of €400,000 to the World Food Programme (WFP) and €200,000 to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) for their work in three refugee settlements. We have already provided €1 million to UNHCR for its support to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda and the wider region."

"The announcement brings total Irish Aid humanitarian funding to South Sudan, including South Sudanese refugees in the region, to more than €8 million so far this year."

The Minister is in Uganda for a three day visit, his first visit to Africa in his new role. Tomorrow, 11 July, he will launch Ireland's new five year strategy for engagement in Uganda. The strategy provides a framework for Irish Aid support for poverty reduction in Uganda, amounting to an envisaged €82.9 million over the period 2016-2020, and will also have a focus on building trade, political, cultural and people-to-people links.