- Members of the StopEACOP campaign, together with concerned citizens and human rights advocates, strongly condemn yesterday’s arrest and detention of four activists who were peacefully protesting against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
- They demand the immediate and unconditional release of Bob Barigye, Mutesi Zarika, Naruwada Shamim, and Nalusiba Phionah, who have been unjustly held in police custody at the Kampala Central Police Station for one night.
The arrest and detention of these individuals violate their rights to freedom of expression and assembly. The four activists have since been charged with inciting violence, yet the information in the public domain, including videos and pictures, shows the police violently arresting people who were peaceful in their protest. The EACOP project, with its associated environmental and social concerns, has sparked widespread debate and resistance among frontline communities in Uganda hence the demonstration yesterday.
As the world faces the urgent need to address climate change and transition to renewable energy sources, it is essential to reevaluate the pursuit of new fossil fuel projects. “We call upon the government of Uganda and Tanzania as well as the project proponents: TotalEnergies, China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and financial institutions that are thinking of providing financing or insurance to this controversial project to reconsider for the sake of the frontline communities already suffering the negative impacts of this project and prioritise sustainable development by shifting their focus towards renewable energy alternatives, which can provide long-term benefits for both the environment and local communities,” said StopEACOP.
This comes barely two weeks after Bagiire Sharif was arrested after he took part in a protest with a number of students who had organised themselves to oppose the controversial EACOP project. Considered alongside previous arrests of activists opposing EACOP, the detention of these peaceful protestors forms part of a disturbing pattern of intimidation and suppression carried out on those who voice their opposition to this controversial project.
“The arrests of these activists are a clear attempt to silence dissent and suppress opposition to the EACOP. We call upon the international community and civil society organisations to join us in condemning these arrests and demanding justice for those detained.” said Zaki Mamdoo, StopEACOP Campaign Coordinator.
Author Bryan Groenendaal