U.S. Ambassador Natalie E. Brown Remarks at Global Refugee Forum Roadmap Launch
U.S. Embassy Kampala | February 28, 2023 (as prepared for delivery at Office of the President Conference Hall, Kampala)
Thank Minister Onek and State Minister Anyakun for hosting and thank the UNHCR Global Refugee Sherpa, Arafat Jamal, for visiting.
We are pleased that Uganda will be one of the co-convenors of the 2023 Global Refugee Forum in Geneva, which reflects Uganda’s – the government and the people’s – impressive commitment to welcoming hosting people fleeing violence, instability, climate, or other factors forcing them to flee their homes. I saw this commitment last year when I had the opportunity to visit Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement and met with government officials, the host community, and of course the refugees themselves.
It was an excellent opportunity to see firsthand how the United States works with Uganda, UNHCR and the rest of the UN community, other governments, and implementing partners, and the United States looks forward to working with Uganda throughout the year as it prepares for the Forum.
The United States is the world’s largest humanitarian donor and the largest single humanitarian donor to UNHCR in Uganda as well. This support was reinforced last July during the visit of Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) Julieta Valls Noyes – her first trip to an African country where she announced additional humanitarian support for Africa, including Uganda.
Subsequent to the last Global Refugee Forum in 2019, the United States attended the High Level Officials Meeting in December 2021.
There, the United States announced ten new pledges to enhance protection and durable solutions for refugees and other vulnerable populations around the world. When we talk about refugee support, the focus is often on funding, and the need for more. But there are a variety of ways to lend support and one that I’d like to highlight this morning is our pledge on resettlement of refugees to the United States.
This year, the United States remains committed to accepting 125,000 resettled refugees from around the world, including 40,000 from Africa, and 12,500 from Uganda. We have seen increasing numbers of departures each month and are excited about the pace in which U.S. Refugee Admissions from Uganda are moving.
This is a team effort. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Service is visiting Uganda and the region like never before to support this effort. Our partner Church World Services has opened a new office in Kampala to be closer to those refugees being resettled and to provide cultural orientation to refugees to prepare them for their journey and for life in the United States.
It’s also a public-private effort. In January this year, the United States announced a new pathway to resettlement, the Welcome Corps. Secretary of State Blinken calls the Welcome Corps “the boldest innovation in refugee resettlement in four decades.” This new program is a private sponsorship program that will enable Americans to sponsor refugees arriving through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), directly support their resettlement, and make a difference by welcoming these new neighbors into their communities. Private Sponsor Groups will welcome refugee newcomers by securing and preparing initial housing, greeting refugee newcomers at the airport, enrolling children in school, and helping adults to find employment. We look forward to seeing the successes of this new pathway.
Thank you again Minister for hosting us this morning. I look forward to the good work we will do between now and December.