Excellences and Distinguished delegatesH.E Yoweri Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda for hosting the Uganda Solidarity Summit for Refugees.
I would also like to thank H.E Antonio Guteres, the United Nations Secretary General for co-hosting this summit and his commitments to the wellbeing of refugees everywhere.
Earlier today I met with successful Somali businessmen and businesswomen in Kampala who told me the freedoms and liberties that Somali refugees enjoy in Uganda. The freedom to engage in business, own property and develop themselves as well as contribute to the economy of this great nation
This once again proves that Somalis are resilient and entrepreneurial by nature. It is not a common occurrence to see refugees in a camp work so tirelessly and develop themselves to the point of becoming successful businessmen and businesswomen and contribute to the economy of the host nation
It also proves that our brothers in Uganda are both welcoming and hospitable. If Uganda had not granted our refuges the freedom of movement, right to own land, right to seek employment and to establish businesses, access to public services including Education and Health, and ease to get all the necessary permits and other documents, the Somali businessmen and businesswomen I met today and many others from across Africa would not have had the opportunity to develop themselves.
But not only that, Uganda is, as we all know, one of the troop contributing countries that form part of the Amisom peacekeeping force. Ugandan troops make daily sacrifices for the safety and security of our people. We are immensely indebted to Uganda for the unconditional support
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Uganda hosts over one million refugees, among them close to fifty thousand Somalis
We acknowledge that hosting one million refugees while ensuring hosting communities are hospitable and friendly is not easy. However, Uganda is living up to its international obligations, even with the ongoing influx of more refugees
We must also acknowledge that it will be difficult for Uganda to continue its progressive refugee policies with the absence of a robust support from the international community.
We therefore urge the international community to support Uganda’s efforts to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of refugees and long-term needs of both refugees and communities hosting them.
Uganda’s progressive refugee laws provide a perfect example that where the opportunity to integrate is provided, refugees can potentially make a turnaround in life. Somali refugees have proved to the world that they have the skills to become economically self-reliant.
I ask refugee-hosting countries to grant access to the same social services that their people enjoy, and give refugees the chance to develop themselves.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Somalia is, and has been making progress. Today Somalis everywhere have huge expectations from my administration, I intend to fulfill the pledges I made to the Somali people that we will overcome the enormous challenges we are facing and restore Somalia’s glory, I am convinced that Somalis have what it takes to make that happen.