The United Nations (UN) refugee agency has issued new stringent measures after an audit uncovered flaws in the management of refugees in Uganda at the peak of fighting in neighboring South Sudan.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said in a statement issued here late Monday that there are new Standard Operating Procedures for the reception of refugees, their registration, protection, assistance and case management.
The UN Office of Internal Oversight Services audit report issued this week showed gaps and weaknesses in risk management in a number of areas during the period between July 2016 and December 2017.
The refugee agency said that a verification of the number of refugees in Uganda was recently completed, unveiling anomalies which are being addressed.
New UNHCR figures after the verification exercise show that Uganda hosts 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers, a drop from the 1.4 million refugees that were previously estimated in Uganda, mainly from South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi.
According to a statement jointly issued by the UNHCR and the Ugandan government in October, an eight-month biometric verification exercise has registered 1.1 million refugees and asylum seekers in Uganda, instead of 1.4 million, and cleaned up cases of multiple registrations.
The statement attributed the drop in the number of refugees to death or the spontaneous return of refugees to their countries of origin, among others.
As the verification was completed, new food assistance collection procedures were rolled out by the UN World Food Program, UNHCR and the Ugandan government.
Uganda and the UNHCR requested the audit process in March this year following allegations that some senior government officials had mismanaged funds earmarked to support refugees and inflated the number of refugees in the country.