HRW says French oil project is a disaster for people of Uganda

Human Rights Watch has urged the French conglomerate TotalEnergies to halt a major oil project in East Africa immediately. The organization expressed grave concerns about the project’s potential detrimental effects on the environment and local communities.

Last year, TotalEnergies and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation entered into a $10-billion agreement to establish Ugandan oilfields and transport the crude through a 1,445-kilometer (900-mile) pipeline to the Indian Ocean port of Tanga in Tanzania.

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) has encountered significant resistance from human rights activists and environmental organizations, leading to legal challenges in France and criticism within the European Parliament.

Human Rights Watch asserts that the mega-project will cause irreversible damage to delicate ecosystems, while also alleging that some of the approximately 100,000 individuals anticipated to be displaced due to its development have been subjected to inadequate treatment.

In March and April of this year, researchers conducted more than 90 interviews, including with 75 families who had been displaced. Many of these families reported experiencing delayed or insufficient compensation.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has vowed to proceed with the project despite the European Parliament calling for it to be delayed over “rights violations”.

HRW has raised concerns over the wrongful imprisonment of activists opposed to the project, and the eviction of people from their land without adequate compensation.

Last month, five Ugandan and French aid groups, along with 26 Ugandans, filed a lawsuit against TotalEnergies in Paris, seeking reparations for alleged human rights violations at two of its major projects in Uganda, including EACOP.

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