Reactive: European Parliament Resolution on Violations of Human Rights in Uganda and Tanzania Linked to the Investments in Fossil Fuels Projects

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

BACKGROUND

On 14th September 2022, the European Parliament passed a resolution that seeks to compel Uganda, Tanzania and the Total Energies to delay the development of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) for at least one year. The resolution cites human rights violations in Uganda and Tanzania linked to investments in fossil fuels projects. It also cites Environmental impacts.

Among the recommendations, the resolution calls on the governments of Uganda and Tanzania to initiate concrete measures to ensure that authorities, security forces and policies respect and comply with human rights standards. It also urges Total Energies to “take one year before launching the project to study the feasibility of an alternative route to better safeguard protected and sensitive ecosystems and the water resources of Uganda and Tanzania, limiting the vulnerability of the watersheds in the African Great Lakes region, which is a critical resource for the region, and to explore alternative projects based on renewable energies for better economic development.”

OUR WORK ON ENERGY AND EXTRACTIVES

Oxfam in Uganda envisions a society free of inequality and injustice. Informed by the Country Strategic Framework (CSF) (2021-2030) we work on four thematic goals, which aim to enhance preparedness, reduce vulnerability to disaster and ensure an effective response to humanitarian crises,promote women’s rights and gender justice, resilient livelihoods, as well as good governance and accountability.

As part of the good governance and accountability goal, we work to harness the potential of energy and extractive industries to support sustainable development. We work on the sustainable extraction of oil as a natural resource while also promoting corporate accountability during the development of the midstream section of the EACOP project. We also advocate for the utilization of forthcoming oil revenues to scale up climate mitigation and adaptation as well as financing clean energy access in Uganda.

OUR POSITION

While taking decision on the EACOP, we urge companies and governments to put communities at the center of their decision-making because the future of Uganda and Tanzania is based on the land, environment, and aspirations of local people.

Informed by some of Oxfam and partner studies, we recommend project developers and the governments of Uganda and Tanzania to:

  1. Listen, inform, and respond to communities: commit to a free, open, informed, and fair conversation about oil development, which includes the risks. Publish contracts, internal human rights impact assessments, and future reviews.
  2. Defend the defenders: ensure human rights advocates, journalists, and civil society groups are free to carry out their work in communities at risk.
  3. Take responsibility: stop any misconduct by project subcontractors, especially attempts to restrict, obfuscate, or limit the rights of communities or civil society. Resolve disputes fairly and support transparent, citizen-driven oversight.
  4. Ensure the fair value of land: ensure valuation and compensation processes that are just, transparent, and aligned with international best practices.
  5. Protect the environment: Invest in environmental restoration along the pipeline and put in place strong safeguards for the protection of fragile ecosystems along the pipeline these include forests and wetlands
  6. Ensure the implementation of the environmental impact assessment recommendations for the EACOP. An investment plan for the implementation of the EIAs should be in the open to build the confidence of Ugandans and development partners.
  7. Invest in the future: support the education, livelihoods, and legal defense of relocated families and people at risk, especially women and girls.
  8. Ensure resettlement does not leave people any worse off. Prepare for a future beyond oil and assess the contribution of these projects to the climate crises.