Maxwell Atuhura - Navigators of Development Organisation (NAVODA)
Maxwell Atuhura, a member of AFIEGO and NAVODA, and the Italian journalist Federica Marsi, were arrested on Tuesday 25 May 2021 in Buliisa, in the oil region of Uganda. They were about to meet with local community members to discuss the impacts that Total’s Tilenga oil project had on them. They were reportedly taken to the police station without being given any reason for their arrests and allegedly threatened while interrogated. While the journalist was released later in the day, Maxwell Atuhura spent few days in custody. For many years, Maxwell Atuhura has been relentlessly defending the rights of people affected by oil operations in the region. His organization, AFIEGO, is actively involved in the lawsuit against Total in France, including by gathering evidence on the ground. Like many other human rights defenders who speak out against oil-related issues, Maxwell has been facing repeated threats and intimidations. In recent weeks, he had received a large number of anonymous threatening phone calls, and both his home in the oil region and his family’s home in the capital had been broken into, which led him to file a complaint at the Buliisa police station on Monday 24 May. Previously, Maxwell Atuhura had already received threats because of his human rights work.