REFUGEES ACT, 2006.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS.

   Section

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

   1.   Short title and commencement.

   2.   Interpretation.

   3.   Granting of refugee status a humanitarian act.

PART II
DETERMINATION OF REFUGEE STATUS.

   4.   Qualifications for refugee status.

   5.   Disqualification for refugee status.

   6.   Cessation of refugee status.

PART III
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS RELATING TO REFUGEES.

   7.   Establishment of Office.

   8.   Functions of Office.

   9.   Commissioner for refugees.

   10.   Other officers and employees.

   11.   Refugee Eligibility Committee.

   12.   Functions of Eligibility Committee.

   13.   Meetings of Eligibility Committee.

   14.   Power to co-opt.

   15.   Sub-committees of Eligibility Committee.

   16.   Refugee Appeals Board.

   17.   Functions and powers of Appeals Board.

   18.   UNHCR may attend proceedings.

PART IV
APPLICATION FOR REFUGEE STATUS AND RELATED MATTERS.

   19.   Application for refugee status.

   20.   Grant of refugee status.

   21.   Appeal by aggrieved party.

   22.   Applications requiring urgent and special attention.

   23.   Residence pending decision of Eligibility Committee.

   24.   Entitlement of refugee after submission of application.

   25.   Group recognition, mass influx and temporary protection.

   26.   Family of recognised refugee.

   27.   Reunion of family of recognised refugee.

PART V
RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF REFUGEES.

   28.   Refugee entitlements under international conventions.

   29.   Rights of refugees while in Uganda.

   30.   Freedom of movement.

   31.   Right to travel document.

   32.   Rights of refugee children.

   33.   Rights of women refugees.

   34.   Personal status.

   35.   Duties and obligations of refugee.

   36.   Rights of family member of refugee.

PART VI
MISCELLANEOUS.

   37.   Principles of international instruments to be followed.

   38.   Prosecution for unlawful entry or presence in Uganda.

   39.   Procedure for withdrawal of recognition of refugee status.

   40.   Expulsion of refugees.

   41.   Extradition of refugees.

   42.   Extradition, return of refugee, etc.

   43.   Authorised officers.

   44.   Settlements and transit centres.

   45.   Naturalisation of recognised refugee.

   46.   Voluntary repatriation of refugee.

   47.   Penalty against certain carriers.

   48.   Regulations.

   49.   Repeal of Cap. 62 and transitional provisions.

REFUGEES ACT, 2006.

Commencement: May 10, 2007
except section 21(4).

   An Act to make new provision for matters relating to refugees, in line with the 1951 Convention relating to the status of refugees and other international obligations of Uganda relating to the status of refugees; to establish an Office of refugees; to repeal the Control of Alien Refugees Act, Cap. 62; and to provide for other related matters.

PART I
PRELIMINARY.

1.   Short title and commencement.

This Act may be cited as the Refugees Act, 2006.

2.   Interpretation.

   In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—

   "African Charter on Human and People's Rights" means the charter adopted by the OAU at the Assembly of the heads of state and government held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 26th"> June, 1981;

   "African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child" means the charter adopted by the OAU at the 26th"> session of the Assembly of heads of state and government held in Addis Ababa on 11th ">July, 1990;

   "Appeals Board" means the Refugees Appeals Board established under section 16 of this Act;

   "alien" means a person who is not a citizen of Uganda;

   "authorised officer" means a person referred to or designated as such under section 43 of this Act;

   "asylum seeker" means a person who has made an application for the grant of refugee status under section 19 of this Act;

   "clearly abusive applications" or "manifestly unfounded applications" means those applications which are clearly fraudulent or do not satisfy the criteria for the granting of refugee status under the Geneva Convention, the OAU Convention and this Act;

   "Commissioner" means the Commissioner for refugees appointed under section 9 of this Act;

   "Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women" means the Convention adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by the United Nations Resolution 34/180 of 18th"> December, 1979;

   "Convention on the Rights of the Child" means the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted on 20th"> November, 1989 by the United Nations Conference on the Rights of the Child;

   "country of nationality" in relation to a person with more than one nationality, means each of the countries of which that person is a national;

   "Eligibility Committee" means the Refugee Eligibility Committee established under section 11 of this Act;

   "elementary education" means basic primary education;

   "firearm" means a lethal barrelled weapon of any description from which a shot, bullet or other missile can be discharged, or any prohibited weapon whether it is lethal or not and any component or part of that weapon designed or adapted to diminish the noise or flash caused by firing the weapon, and includes an air gun, air rifle or pistol;

   "fraudulent", with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, means deceitful and dishonest;

   "frontier" means the land frontier, port of entry or any other point of entry into Uganda;

   "gender discriminating practices" includes strict and forced adherence to a dress code, obligatory pre-arranged marriages, physically harmful facial or genital mutilation, rape, domestic violence and other gender related negative activities;

   "Geneva Convention" means the Convention relating to the Status of refugees done at Geneva on 28th"> July 1951 and includes the Protocol relating to the Status of refugees done at New York on 31st"> January 1967;

   "integration" means a process of interaction and peaceful co-existence and the sharing of available services between refugees and nationals;

   "member of family of a refugee" means—

   (a)   a spouse or spouses of the refugee;

   (b)   a child of the refugee; and

   (c)   any person who is dependent on the refugee;

   "Minister" means the Minister responsible for refugees;

   "Ministry" means the Ministry responsible for refugees;

   "non-political crime" means a crime, which is not of a political character, or a crime, which does not involve opposition to the government of a country on an issue connected with the political control or government of that country; or a crime which is not incidental to, or forming part of, a political upheaval, committed as part of an organised political party or body contending for power or political control of a country;

   "OAU" means the Organisation of African Unity established by the Heads of State and Government of Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 25th"> May, 1963, and renamed as "Africa Union" on 9th"> July, 2001;

   "OAU Convention" means the Convention Governing the Specific Aspects of Refugee Problems in Africa, adopted by the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the OAU at its Sixth Ordinary Session at Addis Ababa on 10th"> September 1969;

   "Office" means the Office of refugees established under section 7 of this Act;

   "persecution" includes any threat to the life or freedom, or serious violation of the human rights of a person on account of that person's race, religion, nationality, sex, political opinion or membership of a particular social group; and as long as a person is threatened with any harm which can reasonably be seen as part of a course of systematic conduct directed against that person as an individual or as a member of a class of persons, on account of race, religion, nationality, sex, political opinion or membership of a particular social group, that person is being persecuted for the purposes of this Act;

   "person" includes any individual, firm, company, association, partnership or body of persons, whether incorporated or not;

   "refugee" or "recognised refugee" means a person who, having qualified to be granted refugee status under section 4 of this Act, has been granted refugee status by the Eligibility Committee under section 20(2) of this Act, or is a member of class of persons declared to be refugees under section 25 of this Act;

   "travel document" means a travel document issued under or in accordance with the provisions of the Geneva Convention to a refugee lawfully staying in Uganda, for the purpose of travel outside Uganda;

   "UNHCR" means the United Nations High Commissioner for refugees referred to in the Geneva Convention, and includes his or her representative in Uganda.

3.   Granting of refugee status a humanitarian act.

   (1) Subject to subsection 2 of this section, and for the avoidance doubt, the granting of refugee status to any person under this Act does not imply any judgment of, or may not be construed as an unfriendly act towards, the country of origin of the person granted refugee status, but must be regarded as a peaceful and humanitarian act extended to that person as part of his or her human rights.

   (2) The Government of Uganda has the sovereign right to grant or deny asylum or refugee status to any person.

PART II
DETERMINATION OF REFUGEE STATUS.

4.   Qualifications for refugee status.

   A person qualifies to be granted refugee status under this Act if—

   (a)   owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, sex, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, that person is outside the country of his or her nationality and is unable, or owing to that fear, is unwilling to return to or avail himself or herself of the protection of that country;

   (b)   not having a nationality and being outside the country of his or her former habitual residence owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, sex, religion, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, that person is unwilling or unable to return to the country of his or her former habitual residence;

   (c)   owing to external aggression, occupation, foreign domination or events seriously disturbing public order in either a part or the whole of his or her country of origin or nationality, that person is compelled to leave his or her place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside his or her country of origin or nationality;

   (d)   owing to a well-founded fear of persecution for failing to conform to gender discriminating practices, that person is compelled to leave his or her place of habitual residence in order to seek refuge in another place outside the country of origin or nationality;

   (e)   that person is considered a refugee under any treaty obligation to which Uganda is a party, or any law in force at the commencement of this Act; or

   (f)   that person is a member of a class of persons declared to be refugees under section 25 of this Act.

5.   Disqualification for refugee status.

   A person does not qualify to be granted refugee status if—

   (a)   that person has committed a crime against peace, a war crime or a crime against humanity as defined in any international instrument to which Uganda is a party;

   (b)   that person has committed a serious non-political crime outside Uganda prior to his or her admission to Uganda as a refugee;

   (c)   that person has been guilty of acts contrary to the purpose or principles of the United Nations Organisation or the OAU; or

   (d)   having more than one nationality, that person has not availed himself or herself of the protection of the second country of which he or she is a national and has no valid reason, based on a well founded fear of persecution or on a reason referred to in section 4(c) of this Act, for not having availed himself or herself of that second country's protection.

6.   Cessation of refugee status.

   (1) A person shall cease to be a refugee if—

   (a)   that person voluntarily re-avails himself or herself of the protection of the country of his or her nationality, or voluntarily re-establishes himself or herself in the country of origin;

   (b)   that person surrenders his or her refugee status;

   (c)   having lost his or her nationality, he or she acquires it again;

   (d)   that person becomes a citizen of Uganda or acquires the nationality of some other country and enjoys th

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