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The 2006 Refugees Act in Uganda: Analyzing the Gap
between Law and Practice
di Frank Ahimbisibwe, Milena Belloni


By April 2020, Uganda was one of the top refugee hosting countries in the world and the largest in Africa with over 1.4 million refugees. Uganda has been generally described as being friendly to refugees and in 2006 passed a law, the Refugees Act, which has internationally been recognized as a progressive law. However, there is a discrepancy between the provisions of the Act and the country’s practice. This article analyzes this discrepancy and the factors behind it by focusing on specific provisions of the Act. It further situates the Act within the broader constitutional context and analyzes the legal framework and practice of naturalization of refugees. In particular, the analysis shows that diplomatic relationships between Uganda and the countries from which refugees flee play a crucial role in determining how refugees are treated and to what extent they are allowed to access their rights.

Keywords: forced migration, refugee protection, diplomatic relationships, refugee law, Uganda

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