Can Refugees Become Citizens of Uganda?

Published: 1/Jul/2008
Source: Refugee Law Project (Kampala)

By Sam Walker

The general received wisdom is that there are three potential durable solutions for refugees: (1) voluntary repatriation; (2) resettlement to a third country; and (3) local integration in the country of asylum through the grant of citizenship. This paper focuses on the last of these three solutions, the grant of citizenship, an option that is  erroneously believed to be legally impossible in Uganda.

Uganda hosts many refugees who have been in the country for more than 20 years, and in some cases in excess of 40 years. Refugee Law Project estimates that they number in the thousands, and are of primarily Sudanese, Congolese and Rwandese origin. Some have spent their entire lives here, raised families here, and consider Uganda their home. However, up until now they have not been provided with the opportunity to legally become Ugandan.

This briefing paper will explain how the law provides refugees with the opportunity to become citizens. Unfortunately, while the law is clear, the reality is that the government has not yet implemented the necessary procedures.

Download file: Can refugees become citizens?

Themes: Naturalisation and Marriage, Nationality and Refugees
Regions: Uganda
Year: 2008