Spent wednesday night on Dubai streets with Stranded Ugandans sleeping daily in open spaces,grass & streets mostly at Baniyas square & Union metro station,Deira,UAE.Several of these are uganda youths ,mostly girls and women plus several males.Majority claim they were defrauded by Uganda External recruitment companies ,falsely promised jobs and dropped on streets of Dubai & UAE with short visas which many times expire before getting jobs.Each day of expired visa attract heavy fines and renewing require equally payment. These youths have no coin even for personal survival. its a tragedy. Some of these are stranded maids & claim they were chased by agents after arrival in UAE deceived of jobs and the same agents confiscate passports demanding huge ransom to release passports.Uganda based external recruitment companies have not assisted these stranded ugandans either.Many stranded young girls with no alternative hope resort to prostitution as only way of survival, with no document,no work,no house,no job,no money & neither has Uganda Government assisted much.The Uganda embassy claim it lacks adequate resources to continuously rescue & bail out thousands of stranded ugandans. Revealed that many times it rely on well wishers, pro bono and even for those in detention the embassy claimed to largely rely on among others UAE government seasonal offers for stranded noncitizens plus seasonal UAE pardon which is mostly granted in Ramadhan and Eid times. Embassy claim they lack funding to offer full legal support to the detained. I learnt several arrive or are trafficked &delivered to UAE by Uganda recruitment companies on short visit visas with promises that they get jobs while in UAE.I listened to several touching stories of young ugandans mostly youths and girls suffering,homeless and with lost hope. Even those who want to secure new passports & reapply for work permits or return cant afford application fees of 250,000/- and cant even afford transport to Uganda Embassy in Abu dhabi. The Uganda Consulate allegedly established in Dubai had a lot of issues l will mention another time. I learnt that Uganda Embassy established one reception centre for the stranded but it cant handle even a quarter of the accomodations & feeding needs of the thousands of Ugandan youth stranded in UAE.I noted from testimonies that some of the stranded Ugandans want assistance to return home and some want assistance to normalize their legal status with a possibility of securing alternative employment. Those insisting to remain amidst being stranded on streets claim they have no hope of alternative survival back home in uganda. Some claim to have left uganda after selling even the little they had to meet charges of external labor recruitment companies and air tickets. The sense of frustration and loss of hope among thousands of uganda youths is real ,they have been left helpless and hopeless. They live without certainty of tomorrow. They carry their bags daily and some claim all clothes and belonging were confiscated by former bosses.I found many spending part of their night in small groups praying with hope of mighty intervention in their frustrations. I want to join them in saying Amen. There is one special lady l found awake sitting on chair at Union Metro Station who told me she stays awake to offer protection to her many ugandans sleeping in the open space and she in turn sleep during day. I recalled that amidst all challenges ,some one some where sacrifice for others to survive.This was a touching inspiration.We shall keep trying what we can in pursuing options but this obviously need you and me and/or us as people.
#SHADOW FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER