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Dozens of Aid Groups are Operating Illegally in Uganda

Refugee aid groups in Uganda are crying foul after the government suspended more than 200 of them, three quarters of the total, for non-compliance with rules and permits. A U.N. special advisor on gender and displacement welcomed the suspensions as a move toward better transparency and regulation. But some activists worry the suspensions could impact 1.4 million refugees who reside in Uganda. Uganda’s minister for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness, in mid-August, released a list of 208 organizations said to be operating illegally in the country’s refugee camps and settlements. According to the letter, these groups lack either permits or memorandums of understanding required to operate. The International Rescue Committee in Uganda was placed under category three on the list — organizations that have valid MOU’s but are operating with expired permits. However, activists insist this kind of publication could jeopardize services at a time when the government needs all the help it can get to support refugees in Uganda.