Today’s Mail on Sunday and MailOnline claims to have uncovered corruption, fraud and sexual exploitation of refugees in Uganda.
An investigation into these allegations last year resulted in all payments to the humanitarian response in Uganda being suspended as soon as DFID was made aware.
We set out to the Mail on Sunday that robust action has now been taken and appropriate safeguards are being put in place – including biometric identification systems - to ensure aid is reaching those most in need.
DFID has a zero tolerance approach to fraud, corruption and sexual exploitation of any kind.
Here is the action DFID has taken since the allegations came to light:
- As soon as these allegations were substantiated in January 2018, the UK suspended all payments until we were fully satisfied that appropriate safeguards were in place.
- The UK has asked for a minimum set of requirements from agencies and the government involved in this response and, together with the Government of Uganda, agreed on a Joint Plan of Action.
- The Joint Plan of Action has led to thorough investigations by UN agencies and Government of Uganda, re-registration of all refugees in Uganda using the UNCHR’s refugee management system, more robust food distribution processes, including using stronger biometric identification of refugees, independent monitors in the settlements to verify the new registration processes and better reporting systems and referral mechanisms for allegations of corruption and sexual harassment by aid workers and refugees.
- DFID no longer gives any money directly to the Ugandan Government.
- We continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure aid is reaching those most in need.
- DFID has been at the forefront of driving up safeguarding standards across the aid sector – to ensure all those engaged in poverty reduction take all possible steps to prevent harm, exploitation and abuse from occurring and to protect people, especially vulnerable adults and children, from that harm.
- Organisations that cannot offer assurances, organisations that cannot demonstrate in practice that they have safeguards in place, and organisations that cannot show that they are effectively managing the risks around safeguarding, will not receive funding from DFID.
The article claims Britain funds a “corrupt and authoritarian regime”.
DFID no longer gives any money directly to the Ugandan Government. Direct support stopped in 2012.
But the refugee crisis in Uganda is the largest in Africa and we are proud that through our programmes with trusted partners, UK aid is helping to save lives, providing essential food, water, immunisations for children and shelter - reducing suffering and supporting refugees to become self-reliant and contribute to the economy.