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30 Jun, 2023 16:31

Ugandan NGOs re-sue French oil company

According to activists, TotalEnergies has violated people’s rights
Ugandan NGOs re-sue French oil company

Five French and Ugandan NGOs and 26 individuals re-sued French oil company TotalEnergies in Paris, France on Tuesday for damages from alleged human rights violations during oil projects in Uganda. 

Ugandan human rights defender Maxwell Atuhura, five French and Ugandan NGOs (AFIEGO, Friends of the Earth France, NAPE/Friends of the Earth Uganda, Survie, and TASHA Research Institute), and 26 individuals are seeking compensation, accusing the company of failing to protect people and the environment from projects which also led to food shortages. 

TotalEnergies has caused “serious harm to the plaintiffs, particularly with regard to their rights to land and food,” the French and Ugandan NGOs said in a statement on Tuesday. 

“Foreign oil companies continue to make super profits while the communities affected by their projects in Uganda are harassed, displaced, poorly compensated and living in abject poverty on their own land,” Frank Muramuzi, executive director of NAPE/Friends of the Earth Uganda, added in the statement.

The company is running projects to build the East African Crude Oil Pipeline – a 1,500km stretch to supply oil to the coast of Tanzania through protected nature reserves – and the Tilenga exploration of 419 oil wells, some of which are in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda.

According to activists, more than 118,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania have already been affected by these two projects.

Environmental activist Kiiza Eron told RT that TotalEnergies is trying to hide its climate misdeeds and human rights violations. He believes this is an age-old tactic of business people, and it always “comes down to an obsession with profit and an insensitivity to human rights concerns.” 

Activists failed in a 2019 lawsuit before a French court to force TotalEnergies to halt the Tilenga and East African Crude Oil Pipeline projects.