Kampala Geopolitics Conference

Opening Doors or Building Walls: Managing Migration in US, Europe & Africa

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Innocent Ndahiriwe opened the discussion by echoing that
Uganda will maintain its open-door policy to refugees,
who will enjoy freedom of movement, access to education,
health, jobs and other services. “We shall not stop until they
[refugees] feel that circumstances that forced them out of
their country have ceased.”
Michel Maietta said migration has been part of humanity
since time immemorial and, as such, refugees should be
accommodated. “There are nations that did not know
boundaries. A refugee is not a problem but a reality; they
have to relocate to survive.”
In the spirit of genuine globalisation, Andie Lambe said
the world should open its doors to refugees. “You can’t
aim for globalisation and want to go back to nationalism at
your convenience.” He said America was built on migration
and yet it is putting up walls against people with genuine
reasons to migrate. “There should be policies in place so
that movement is less dangerous and less tragic.”
As Europe and America continue to slam doors
in the faces of refugees, Uganda’s open-door
approach to refugees and migrants has raised
questions about sustainability and affordability.
Thomas Volke advised leaders in Uganda and other
countries to create a distinction between a refugee and a
migrant, and to make migration legal to reduce illegal and
perilous ways of cross-border movement. “There must
be legal migration, for instance, based on scholarships to
reduce dangerous ways of immigration or crossing waters
and borders, that lead to loss of lives.”
However, Charles Kasozi, a student, said Uganda risks
sinking into xenophobia if it does not check its refugee
policy. “Receiving refugees is a kind gesture, but getting
more than we can keep is unrealistic, because we will end
up depriving our citizens of basic needs and failing to make
the refugees live dignified lives.” Kasozi argued that since
many youths are unemployed, receiving more refugees
implies that unemployment rates will soar, and the citizens
and asylum seekers will start fighting for the limited jobs.

Meet the Panelists