KAMPALA - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres and EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu, Thursday, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enhance cooperation between the two organs.
This was on the sidelines of a continental summit on refugees that was underway in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.
The new agreement will see the two institutions embark on areas of common concern with the ultimate aim of strengthening the protection of displaced people.
In recognition of these realities and opportunities, UNCHR and EAC agreed to cooperate in several spheres of mutual interest such as promotion of the rights of refugees and internally displaced people and also strengthening of national legislations.
“Forced displacements have long plagued partner states of the East African Community which is one of the largest refugee hosting regions in Africa,” said Mwapachu.
According to UNHCR reports more than 320,000 refugees have fled to Kenya, Tanzania hosts almost 287,000 while Uganda has more than 162,000.
“Promotion of human rights, peace building and developing early warning systems will also feature prominently among areas of cooperation between UNHCR and EAC,” said Guterres.
The Kampala summit is being attended by several top continental leaders including Heads of State. Rwanda is represented by Premier Bernard Makuza.
“Let us draw inspiration from those African leaders who have refused to accept perpetual displacement as an inevitable reality in their countries and have acted boldly to bring it to an end,” said Guterres.
The summit which has attracted four African Heads of State aims at finding the root causes and ways of preventing forced displacement as a long term strategy.