Refugeehood in Uganda’s rapidly urbanizing cities: An investigation of the South Sudanese refugees’ use of assets and community self-reliance to overcome humanitarian protection challenges in Arua city, Northern Uganda
Sammanfattning: In contrast with most studies analyzing urban forced displacement in Uganda, this study moves beyond the capital Kampala to explore urban refugeehood issues in one of the country’s secondary cities. The case study investigates how a community of self-settled South Sudanese refugees living in the northern Ugandan city of Arua copes with the challenges of self-settlement, self-reliance and recognition. Data was collected over a period of two months of extensive fieldwork between January and February 2020 through semi-structured interviews and focus groups. In the absence of external humanitarian assistance and lack of a recognized urban refugee status, the study shows that refugees undergo several challenges, such as unfair competition for jobs and limited access to public services. This is often further exacerbated by contextual factors, such as Arua’s uneven rapid urbanization. The research has found that members of the South Sudanese refugee community rely on shared community assets and the work of Refugee-Led Organizations (RLOs) to improve their situation and advocate for better life conditions within the city. The study recommends the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Government of Uganda and other stakeholders to extend their humanitarian operations in secondary cities and work with RLOs to support the local integration of refugees in Arua.
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