Legal protection needs of refugees self-settled in secondary cities in Uganda

Published 19. Apr 2024
In recent years, there has been a notable trend among asylum seekers and refugees in Uganda, as they increasingly relocate and self-settle in urban areas.

This shift towards urbanisation, particularly in Uganda’s secondary cities, has prompted a closer examination of the legal protection challenges faced by these displaced populations.

This report focuses on four such secondary cities: Mbarara, Hoima, Koboko and Adjumani, each identified for their significant refugee population and strategic geographic location. Through a comprehensive analysis, the report provides a deeper understanding of the profile and mobility patterns of this relatively new urban population. It outlines challenges related to obtaining legal stay and identity documentation, securing housing, land and property, gaining employment and the consequences of being unable to enjoy these rights.

Drawing on a combination of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, including a household level survey involving over 1,520 households (targeting 380 households per location), 20 focus group discussions, and interviews with over 20 key stakeholders, the report provides valuable insights into the urban refugee experience and identifies trends and protection risks.

By addressing critical knowledge gaps and highlighting acute needs, challenges and concrete actionable opportunities, this research aims to inform stakeholders and policymakers about the urgent need to enhance the enjoyment of rights and self-reliance among urban refugees. Continued and broadened support tailored to these challenges is essential to enhance the protection environment, facilitate access to durable solutions and support municipalities and authorities in adequately planning for the needs of all residents.