Uganda hosts large numbers of refugees from around the Great Lakes region. Some have spent their entire lives in Uganda, raised their families here and consider it their home. However, they have not been able to fully integrate and become citizens of Uganda. There is a belief by relevant authorities that refugees cannot become citizens because they did not move to Uganda voluntarily.
In 2010 Refugee Law Project petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking an interpretation of Articles 12 and 13 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 in relation to sections 14 and 16 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act Cap 66 and Sections 6 and 45 of the Refugee Act 2006). The interpretation is in respect of the eligibility of refugees to apply for and acquire Ugandan Citizenship by registration or naturalization.
The petition focuses on two issues which are; Whether refugees living in Uganda are eligible to apply for and acquire citizenship by registration under provisions of articles 12(2)(c) of the Constitution and whether refugees living in Uganda are eligible to apply for and acquire citizenship by naturalization under provisions of article 13 of the Constitution.
Hearing of the petition was delayed due to lack of quorum of the Constitutional Court. After five years of waiting, the matter has finally been scheduled for hearing today, 15th June 2015, at 9.00am.
We shall update you on the outcome of this case.
RLP's work can be found at www.refugeelawproject.org.