The Uganda government has granted refugee status for the Eritrean national soccer team that went AWOL after the quarterfinals of the 2012 CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup that took place in Kampala in December, 2012.
The refugee status was granted two weeks ago according to the Uganda government. Eritreans in and out of the country have been looking after the players and chasing for their refugee status papers, as they seek to join relatives from the different part of the world.
The players refused to travel back to Eritrea after they were eliminated in the CECAFA tournament, something that has become a trend for all CECAFA competitions, both club and national teams.
A Uganda official Apollo Kazungu confirmed that they are now recognised refugees after they showed course that they feel that they will be persecuted and are at a risk if they return to Asmara after failing to win the regional title.
The Eritreans, who have been leaving in Mengo Kisenyi had had protection from the Ugandan government, after officials said that they will not force them to go back to Eritrea as the responsible parties look through their cases and see whether they fulfil the criteria for refugees.
They fulfilled the United High Commission for Refugees interpretation of well-founded fear of being persecuted as per UNHCR procedures and criteria of determining refugee status under 1951 convention and 1967 protocol relating to the status of refugees under persecution 51-53.
Courtesy Ugandan Sports
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