According to Haydee Diaz, who works with Catholic Relief Services, Uganda has been successful in handling large numbers of refugees from the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan. In an op-ed piece for the Washington Post, she bemoans the way the USA is treating the refugees at its door:
What a jarring contrast between the success in [Uganda] and what is happening in my own country [USA]: immigrants dying while trying to reach safety, and thousands of children held without their parents in overcrowded facilities short of food and bathrooms, as government lawyers argue that “safe and sanitary” conditions are difficult to provide or are not the government’s responsibility. The United States acknowledges that the migrants need better care, but claims it’s impossible to keep up with the crush of arrivals at the southern border. The White House blames Congress. Some members of Congress are outraged by what they call inhumane detention policies.
Ironically, Uganda is one of the poorest countries in Africa. It is roughly the size of Oregon and is landlocked. Diaz continues:
Uganda’s economy is smaller than New Hampshire’s, with a gross domestic product of $26 billion compared with the $21 trillion of the United States. If one of the poorest countries in the world — with help from the United States — can shelter more than 1 million refugees, educate their children and teach parents a trade, why can’t the United States at least provide safe temporary facilities for those fleeing horrors in Central America?
An excellent question.
I’ve visited Bidi Bidi, the second largest refugee camp in the world, which is located in northwestern Uganda. It is a haven for refugees fleeing war-torn South Sudan. I’ve discussed it’s unique characteristics here.