Uganda is home to almost 400,000 refuges according to the UNHCR who have come in search of a safe haven.
However, safe haven is not what they are finding.
Most of these refugees are people fleeing war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The journey to Uganda is anything but easy. Most walk for days and weeks to get there and according to Medical Teams International women who make it, "suffer mostly from sexual violence and rape....Children suffer mostly from malnutrition, respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases. The rate of children infected with chicken pox is very high."
"Even though we have had some contributions from the United States, Japan, and the United Kingdom this year, WFP still has a funding shortfall for refugees in Uganda. Most of the world's attention is on Mali, Syria and others, but we need the world to know that political instability continues also in DRC."
The organisation has already started to cut food supplies down by up to 50 percent within the refugee settlements. If the numbers of asylum seekers keep rising, the situation could worsen.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) refugees in Uganda, Kenya and many other parts of the world are among the most vulnerable of refugees. Human Rights First reports:
They are often targeted for violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, including by other refugees. LGBTI refugees may be unable to rely on support from the social networks that are critical for the survival of many refugees because they are frequently marginalized by family members or others within the refugee community.
LGBTI refugees in Uganda and Kenya often face high risks of violence, including from other members of the refugee community. Both Uganda and Kenya criminalize same-sex conduct, which makes it extremely difficult for LGBTI refugees to seek police protection for fear of being arrested. Police in both countries also harass and extort individuals – sometimes due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The risks of violence against LGBTI refugees are so high that even non-LGBTI persons who advocate on behalf of LGBTI refugees in Uganda and sometimes Kenya may face security concerns. For example, in 2010, two women in Uganda were abducted, raped repeatedly, and left for dead because they had been assisting a group of LGBTI refugees.
In the words of U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres, International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO), 05-17-2012:
“Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons, including adolescents, continue to be compelled to flee their home countries and seek protection abroad due to the discrimination and abuse they experience. In many countries around the world, these individuals and the specific protection problems they face in flight and in exile remain largely invisible. It is clear, however, that the nature of the discrimination they encounter can be particularly virulent, their isolation from family and community profound, and the harm inflicted on them severe.”
The following is from All Africa.
Uganda: Horror of Being a Refugee in UgandaBY SHIFA MWESIGYE,
Respect All Regardless of Sexual Orientation" her placard read.