Heads of refugee management in the region yesterday concluded a meeting in Kampala, where they discussed the existing policy frameworks on management of refugee matters in the region.
According to Capt Jean Damascene Kayitana, an advisor to the Minister for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, the meeting also aimed at aligning refugee matters with the EAC Common Market protocol that came into force in July this year.
“When we talk of free movement of people in that protocol, this also includes refugees that originate from all the EAC partner states,” he said in an interview yesterday.
“So, we are looking at how refugees can enjoy this right just like other East Africans”.
Kayitana added that the meeting, also attended by chiefs of refugee management from other partner states, sought to enhance information sharing and increase cooperation on refugee matters in the region.
Other key areas discussed at the meeting include; the issue of registering refugees in the region, and presentation and discussions on the EAC/ UNHCR Memorandum of Understanding.
The office of the UNHCR last year urged the EAC states to consider local integration of refugees as a solution to the refugee plight.
Participants at the meeting suggested that the meeting of chiefs of refugee management be held at least twice a year and not once as has been the case.