Kampala- Uganda (PANA) -- A Refugee Law Project (RLP) here has condemned the Ugandan government for engaging in forcible relocation of 16,000 Sudanese refugees from the secure central region to the rebel-threatened West Nile region, saying the action violates international law.
Last Monday, anti-riot Ugandan police raided Kiryandongo refugee settlement camp where the 16,000 Sudanese refugees were relocated three years ago after rebels of the Joseph Kony led Lords Resistance Army (LRA) attacked them in the northern region district of Pader, killed 90 of them and abducted 100 others.
UNHCR officials in Uganda support the location after the refugees resisted an orderly transfer from the congested Kiryandongo camp, citing fears of possible attacks by LRA rebels.
Since the raid in which some refugees suffered injuries, an estimated 4,000 of them have been bundled onto trucks bound for relocation to refugee camps in Uganda's West Nile district of Yumbe, one of the frontiers to war-torn southern Sudan.
"The refugees are being detained in a particular place, which clearly breaks article 26 of the 1951 UN convention on refugees.
"It's a grievous example of poor refugee management," charged Emmanuel Bagyenda, senior officer at the refugee legal project.
He argued that the refugees had genuine security concerns about northern Uganda, which should be considered.
"Apart from anything else, the camps in West Nile are too close to Sudan.
These people are trying to escape persecution from the SPLA (Sudan People's Liberation Army) and now they find themselves on the SPLA's doorstep," Bagyenda lamented.