Uganda Ban­yarwanda de­cry eth­nic pro­fil­ing

The East African - - NEWS - By IVAN R. MUGISHA The Eastafrican

THE BAN­YARWANDA of Uganda have lately been find­ing it hard to travel to Rwanda for fear of hav­ing their doc­u­ments con­fis­cated by Ugan­dan im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials who con­sider them aliens.

This con­tra­venes Uganda’s Con­sti­tu­tion, which recog­nises Ban­yarwanda as one of the 56 in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties of Uganda.

Their crack­down in­ten­si­fied when Uganda started is­su­ing na­tional IDS to its cit­i­zens in 2014, sources say.

Both Uganda and Rwan­dan im­mi­gra­tion of­fices de­clined to pro­vide in­for­ma­tion and fig­ures on how many in­di­vid­u­als have been af­fected, but sources at the Ugan­dan em­bassy in Kigali say com­plaints of this na­ture are re­ported ev­ery week.

Some of the af­fected who were in­ter­viewed by The Eastafrican said they were be­ing pro­filed by Ugan­dan im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers at the bor­ders.

“An Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer asked for my tribe and I replied that I am a Mun­yarwanda of Ugan­dan de­scent, and that is where all the trou­ble started,” said one man in Nya­gatare, a bor­der district.

“He con­fis­cated my ID and told me that I should seek a Rwan­dan ID in­stead. I tried to plead with him but he did not lis­ten. I had just come to visit some rel­a­tives.”

Peo­ple whose IDS are con­fis­cated re­port to the Ugan­dan em­bassy in Kigali, where they are asked to pay a fee of Rwf3,000 ($4) for a doc­u­ment au­tho­ris­ing them to travel back to Uganda.

Upon re­turn to Uganda, they are ex­pected to re­port to the Na­tional Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and Reg­is­tra­tion Author­ity, where they are asked to reap­ply for the IDS.

Ac­cord­ing to the chair­per­son of the Ban­yarwanda Com­mu­nity of Uganda, Donat Kana­nura, such case are now ram­pant and sev­eral meet­ings have been held with im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers to find so­lu­tion.

He told The East African that many Ban­yarwanda who wish to cross the bor­der now re­sort to fal­si­fy­ing their iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“Many of them re­port to us that their IDS have been taken. Oth­ers now choose to say they are Banyankore or Ba­fumbira to avoid trou­ble and they cross easily,” he said.

The Ugan­dan em­bassy in Rwanda told The Eastafrican that al­though dual cit­i­zen­ship is le­gal, some Ugan­dan Ban­yarwanda ex­ploit sys­tems in both coun­tries to get na­tion­al­i­ties from both coun­tries with­out go­ing through for­mal pro­cesses.

“If an in­di­vid­ual seeks to ac­quire dual cit­i­zen­ship, there is a for­mal chan­nel. It is wrong to ap­ply for doc­u­ments as a Ugan­dan and then ap­ply for Rwan­dan cit­i­zen­ship with­out declar­ing your other na­tion­al­ity,” Anne Ka­tusi­ime, the deputy head of Mis­sion at the Ugan­dan em­bassy said.

Many Rwan­dan cit­i­zens hold Uganda na­tional IDS il­le­gally, and this un­der­mines se­cu­rity.” Rose Akol, ex-in­ter­nal Af­fairs min­is­ter

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