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‘Find the Gap’: Strategic Oversights and Inactions in Uganda’s Asylum Procedures
Within refugee and forced migration studies, authors and organisations regularly refer to the existence of various ‘gaps’. These ‘gaps’ exist in multiple arenas: between policy and practice, between organisations’ aspirations and actual achievements, and between service providers and the supposed beneficiaries of these programmes. The existence of such gaps is rendered as objective fact and the working assumption is that such ‘gaps’ must be narrowed or filled, either through circumventing the processes altogether or through establishing more effective and technical forms of bridging them. In this article I instead question who has the power to reconstitute certain spaces as ‘gaps’, against what or whose normative standards are these spaces able to be defined as ‘gaps’, and whose interests does that rendering serve. That leads to an exploration of the political and social functions served by two ‘gaps’ within Uganda’s asylum system: the first is the ongoing constitutional petition concerning refugees’ rights to naturalise within Uganda; the second concerns Uganda’s refugee status determination procedures as experienced by Eritrean asylum-seekers in the country’s capital.
Keywords: Uganda, Eritrean refugees, naturalisation, refugee status determination, constitutional petition