KAMPALA, June 28 — The United Nations refugee agency in Uganda on Wednesday urged for the creation of jobs for refugee youths to curb violence.
Joel Boutroue, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) representative in Uganda, in a statement urged partners to prioritize labor-intensive initiatives to create jobs for youths in refugee settlements and adjacent host communities.
He cited a clash between youths of different ethnic groups in a refugee settlement of South Sudanese in Arua, northwestern Uganda, on June 17, which left four dead and over 19 injured.
He said it was simplistic to attribute such tensions solely to ethnic strife.
“It is important to recognize that contributing factors also include the trauma that prompted refugees to seek safety in Uganda, the uncertainty of life in exile, and the resulting sense of hopelessness for a generation whose future has been squandered by conflict,” he said.
The failure to attend to the needs of refugee youths could be a time bomb as they were recoursing to anti-social behavior, he warned.
Peter Muriuki, the UNHCR protection officer in Arua, said despair and idleness encourage deviance and anti-social behavior, including alcohol and substance abuse, among the youth in refugee camps.
Positive engagement through vocational training as well as integration in employment and income-earning activities could provide a counterbalance for the enduring psychological effects of violence these young people have experienced, Muriuki said.
Besides over 1.4 million refugees from South Sudan, Uganda also hosts refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Somalia and Rwanda.