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26 Mai 2021

Inclusive Development International (USA)

Uganda: NGO calls for release of human rights defender arrested while investigating impacts of Total’s oil projects

"Uganda: Release human rights defender arrested while investigating impacts of Total’s oil projects", 26 May 2021

Inclusive Development International deplores the arbitrary arrest and detention of Ugandan human rights defender Maxwell Atuhura and calls for his immediate release and an end to the repeated attacks on human rights defenders and environmental activists in Uganda.

Maxwell Atuhura, a field worker for our partner organization AFIEGO (Africa Institute for Energy Governance) and fellow member of the global #StopEACOP Alliance dedicated to stopping the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, was arrested along with Italian journalist Federica Marsi yesterday in Buliisa, Uganda’s oil region.  The arrest occurred as they were preparing to meet with local community members to discuss the impacts of Total’s Tilenga oil project. They were not told the reason for their arrest.  Both were taken to the police station and interrogated. Police reportedly threatened their lives and safety and asked Maxwell “why was he working against Total with foreigners?”

Federica Marsi was released shortly after her arrest on the condition she would leave the oil region “before bad things happen,” but was arrested again a few hours later in the town of Biso as she tried to leave the area in a taxi. She eventually managed to leave the oil region and arrived in Kampala late in the evening of May 25.

Maxwell Atuhura remains in custody and was reportedly being transferred to the Hoima police station, where he has not yet been allowed access to a lawyer. [...]

[Note: Total and CNOOC are the major operators of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.]

Part of the following timelines

Standard Bank suspends its support for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline after NGOs urge banks to withdraw citing environmental & social concerns

Uganda: Police arrest local HRD and Italian journalist investigating impact of Total’s oil project on local communities

Threats & attacks on rights groups and land & environmental defenders in Uganda

Threats & attacks on rights groups and land & environmental defenders in Uganda

Uganda & Tanzania: East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP)