About Us

Welcome to the Vicariate for Refugees and Migrants in the Diocese of Arua

Established in 2016, the Vicariate for Refugees and Migrants in the Diocese of Arua was created to address the pastoral and spiritual needs of refugees and migrants in the northern part of Uganda. Our mission encompasses the districts of Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Obongi, and Arua, all located within the West Nile region.

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Brief History

In July 2016 fighting resumed in Juba the capital of South Sudan between forces loyal to the current president and that of his vice President, several civilians were killed and many more were wounded during the skirmishes. This infighting in South Sudan resulted into thousands of refugees fleeing in Uganda and especially West Nile region; Adjumani, Arua, Yumbe and Moyo (all in Arua Diocese) were the main Districts gazetted by the Uganda Government together with UNHCR to host South Sudanese refugee new arrivals. At the climax of the influx Adjumani District received over 8,000 refugees per day for a period of two weeks causing pressure on agencies to respond to avert imminent crisis. UNHCR estimates that more refugees have fled to Uganda in July 2016 than it did during the whole of 2015.

Uganda is now hosting more South Sudanese refugees than any other country, followed by second largest asylum country Ethiopia. Current likely scenarios anticipate that 973,000 South Sudanese refugees could seek asylum with its neighbouring countries by the end of the year. By June before the crisis Uganda had a total of 229,176 refugees as per UNHCR/OPM Refugee Information Management System. Today Adjumani alone is hosting a total of 360,000 refugees and asylum seekers. Though the big number of refugee influx has reduced, refugees continue to sneak in raging between 400 – 800 on a daily basis at Nyumanzi reception centre.

The crisis in South Sudan has claimed the lives of thousands, leaving many widowed, orphaned and/or separated from their families and relatives. Signs of distress, fatigue, anger and anxiety are noticeable among new arrivals as well as those in settlements; the crisis has potential to escalate even further. While we do not know the scale of atrocities, the new arrivals informed of total social disorder in the whole of South Sudan, with inter-tribal war taking precedent. Countless civilians, particularly women and children, have become victims of violence perpetrated by the war in South Sudan. Continuous violent act threatens return of refugee as new arrivals reports of rampant raping of women, forceful conscription

into the army and above all arbitrary killings by the warring parties. Various reason are given for leaving South Sudan by the refugees: Continuing conflict, fear of insecurity, search for family reunion, break down of social system, arbitrary killings, lack of food and seeking for safety as the key factors prompting refugees to flee to Uganda.

Three new settlements were established: Pagirinya, Palorinya, Bidi-Bidi in Adjumani, Yumbe and Moyo Districts respectively. These settlements are meant to de-congest the refugee population in Adjumani District, as population of refugees threatens to outnumber the numbers of host community.