World Vision International
Press Release • Monday, June 19th 2017

World Refugee Day, a dark reminder of the reality of children on the move

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  • Half a million South Sudanese children have fled to Uganda
  • Many of them have witnessed or directly experienced extraordinary levels of violence
  • EU must show support to Uganda at Solidarity Summit and address root causes of South Sudan crisis

On World Refugee Day, World Vision reminds EU leaders of their obligation to support Uganda responding to massive refugee displacements coming from neighboring countries and particularly from South Sudan.

World Vision estimates 100 unaccompanied South Sudanese children cross the border into Uganda each day. Once they arrive, they’re safe from war but vulnerable to other forms of violence like child marriage.

“World Vision is facilitating interim foster care for these unaccompanied children. Suitable refugee families are identified as temporary guardians and we continue to monitor the child’s well-being,” says Gilbert Kamanga, National Director for World Vision Uganda.

Uganda has some of the most progressive refugee policies in the world. It has kept its borders open, is providing land grants to each refugee family, allowing individuals the right to work and establish businesses and access public services like health care and education.

“The international community should take note of these measures and move to share responsibility for this crisis immediately. Those of us responding only have 15-16 per cent of the funds we need. As a consequence, the Ugandan Government and World Food Program recently had to cut already limited food rations,” says Gilbert Kamanga. “It's a mistake to ignore this crisis because it involves conflict and politics - we all need to see that children are at the centre of the picture.”

As Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, and EU leaders are flying off to Uganda to attend the Solidarity Summit hosted by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E Yoweri K. Museveni, World Vision calls on them to secure multi-year funding to ensure children are protected and educated.

“This is a children’s crisis” says Justin Byworth, World Vision Brussels’ Executive Director. “Too many children on the move have witnessed indescribable violence and face exploitation and abuse. The EU now needs to show it stands by these children and support their protection and psycho-social needs.”

While the needs of the children must be met, the root causes of the crisis must also be addressed. The EU and world leaders must redouble efforts to facilitate a peaceful resolution to conflicts in neighbouring countries and create conditions that are conducive to informed, safe and dignified voluntary returns.

ENDS

Notes to editors

You can read the interagency briefing and call to action for the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees here

World Vision is a Christian relief, development and advocacy organisation dedicated to working with children, families and communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. It works in close to 100 countries in most regions of the world including Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Asia Pacific Region.

World Vision Brussels’ office represents World Vision members in 12 European countries, including 10 EU member states, as well as the wider international World Vision partnership.

For more information or an interview, please contact Ludovic Wahis, Policy and Communications Officer, World Vision Brussels & EU Representation, +32 (0) 2 274 18 67, Ludovic_Wahis [at] wvi [dot] org