An Assessment of Uganda’s Progressive Approach to Refugee Management

Uganda’s refugee laws are among the most progressive in the world. Refugees and asylum seekers are entitled to work; have freedom of movement; and can access Ugandan social ser- vices, such as health and education. But refugee-impacted areas are at risk due to underlying poverty, vulnerability, and limited resilience to shock further exacerbated by the presence of refugees. The government of Uganda, in collaboration with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and partners, has taken steps to strengthen the self-reliance and resilience of refugees and their host communities.


Refugees in Uganda are either self-settled or live in organized settlements that cover approximately 350 square miles of land set aside by the government of Uganda. Many refugees, especially in the northern districts, are in protracted displacement, and the Ugandan constitution prohibits the naturalization of an offspring of a refugee, even if he or she is born in Uganda and even if one parent is Ugandan. Some refugees have the option of returning to their country of origin, and some can resettle in a third country, often in the West, but doing so is expensive and not viable at a large scale.

This study includes a legal and policy analysis and a socioeconomic impact assessment, the former complementing the latter. The impact of legal and policy frameworks on the refugee situation in Uganda are analyzed, as are the social and economic impacts and the contribution of the current policy framework on these outcomes for the refugees. The study employs qualitative and quantitative research methods and covers refugees in rural and urban sites in Uganda. The study’s primary focus is on the socioeconomic impact of Uganda’s refugee law on the refugees themselves. This focus and the tight timeframe did not allow the team to assess the socioeconomic impact of the presence of refugees on host communities. That will require a separate and broader study.


Geographic Coverage

Funded By

Publishing Organizations




, ,

Type of Study

Year Published

Related Resources

Scroll to Top