This why Pecos and other vocal refugees in Uganda are highly oppressed in silence.
Uganda currently hosts 1.3million refugees and asylum seekers from various countries, among them 90% were created by Uganda from their countries of origin especially in D.R.Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and Somalia. Pecos has opposed that foreign policy of Uganda to make refugees from other countries and calls upon the whole world to strongly condemn this. “Uganda must change its foreign policy in the region”.
The only item Uganda sells at the International Community and in various Forums is refugees and which Uganda uses in order to seek for funding, surprisingly more than 85% of the funding from donors towards refugees end in the hands of few individuals and in the administration of various organizations. Pecos is strongly opposed to this and calls on other people to join him to change this, most of wars which have pushed Congolese in the whole East Part of D.R.Congo to seek asylum and to find themselves in Internally Displaced Camps are in one way or the other generated from Uganda either directly or indirectly, in this Pecos has strongly denounced refugee recruitment into military or armed groups activities.Currently there are movements of refugees in various camps in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and D.R.Congo which aims at mobilizing refugees to join rebel groups in the region and Pecos is strongly standing against that.
The donor community especially the USA, the UK and the European Union have not yet done enough in terms of accountability and demanding for the respect of refugee rights, because of the interests they also have in just dumping their money in Uganda in the name of helping refugees. Giving money to refugees remains one among the highly used strategy of visibility and Diplomatic positioning of these donors in Uganda. Pecos is strongly opposed to this Donors move of using refugees as tool for Diplomatic visibility only. The Donor Community should condition their aid with strict respect of Refugee Rights especially these countries which claim to be champions of Human Rights, Democracy, and Good Governance.
On ground here in Uganda, the situation of refugees is highly ignored as all efforts are deployed to show the world that Uganda is handling refugees well, yet that is not true, Pecos then has been vocal to bring to light bribery in the whole refugee status process, made urgent interventions on behalf of refugees who are arbitrary arrested, has exposed torture, sexual exploitation, extra-judiciary killings of refugees, deportation of refugees, denial of humanitarian services, acts of discrimination and embezzlement of funds, and Pecos is highly involved in exposing the whole chain of bribe surrounding the refugee resettlement process to the third countries mainly the USA, Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden among others. Refugee resettlement in Uganda has become more for the rich, those who have money and seems excluding those who are critical to the refugee regime.
Anyone who tries to speak against all these evil things done to refugees is quickly blacklisted, isolated and threatened by the Refugee Regime and by all their partners. This is the price Pecos and all his colleagues have paid for many years and this has remained unknown. Since 2010 Pecos and his other five refugees started a campaign to create awareness among refugees about their rights and because of that campaign refugee started demanding for their rights and since then up to now, Pecos is blacklisted by various organizations and by the refugee regime here in Uganda, but also some organizations still are doing all they can to tarnish the image of Pecos and discourage all those who could associate with him.
Pecos is strongly concerned about the future of refugee children who cannot go to school yet there is money for that, for many refugees who die due to curable diseases and yet there is enough money to grant them adequate medical treatment, the UNHCR statistics indicate that 76% of the Refugee Population in Uganda are children and women and yet they lack services.
Pecos has strongly vowed that Donors should cut their aid to Uganda because after all this aid does not reach to the concerned refugees and that refugees can live without that aid. A refugee in camps here in Uganda gets 22,000 Ug Shillings = 6$ USA per month yet a UNHCR Officer gets 10,000 $ USA per month and this is total injustice which Pecos believes it should be challenged, and this aid should be simply stopped.
In response to Pecos activism the Refugee Regime in connection with the security services in Uganda has put in place a culture of oppression against vocal refugees and that is why they are always arrested. Among them Pecos has paid a heavy price, a part of being blacklisted, Pecos is denied services neither from UNHCR, the Government, the Implementing Partner Organizations and still pressure is put to various human rights organizations to stop extending support to Pecos. All these are done in to discourage him and force him to resign from his activism.
The Refugee Regime has only left the following options for Pecos: Either to kneel down and ask for apology, either to quit activism, either to run away from Uganda or to enjoy life in prison all the time. Despite the fact that Pecos has remained a perpetual prisoner he does not envisage to abandon all these refugees who are suffering without anyone to speak for them. Pecos believes that the best option and the solution for this is to struggle for a free space where him and other Refugee Human Rights Defenders can work freely and this is what he is working on currently. That is possible when we join hands together and hold all these actors accountable for their actions.
But as we speak now, his life is at risk of being kidnapped, killed and deported as he was recently arrested and upon to now he is still on Police Bond, all efforts to seek for support from local organizations have failed and Pecos future lies in the hands of the International Solidarity through this fundraising .
A Note from the Campaign Owner
I met Pecos through a friend in Uganda and was aware of his most recent arrest and security situation as it happened. I am also aware of his bravery and creativity when faced with the challenges thrown at him by people in positions of power.
I wanted to acknowledge that the key factor in why I am hosting this campaign is that the opportunity to do so is not available to people who live outside a select number of “wealthy” countries. It maddens me that, as a Canadian, as a white person, I’ve ended up taking on the role of vouching for Pecos. I wish I did not have to act as a financial intermediary for someone who so clearly knows his needs and those of his community and is bold enough to ask for it; but that is the reality of this situation.