Ugandan communities impacted by TotalElf EACOP  protest evictions, rights violations from project

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Communities in Uganda’s Albertine region have decried what they termed  “unjust” evictions and the lack of a fair, transparent judicial process in the Tilenga oil project operated by French energy giant TotalEnergies.

The communities who made their positions known during a demonstration 

after 42 families were evicted from.their lands to make way for the project, said the local communities did not get  adequate compensation and there were unresolved land disputes, among other issues. They outlined these issues in a statement read out to the relevant authorities at the Hoima High Court during the protest.

Frustrations continue to mount in response to the land acquisition process, which has been marred by numerous human rights violations, including denying women and girls a voice in the compensation process, as well as delayed and inadequate compensation. Those who have sought legal recourse have faced endless court delays which effectively equate to a denial of justice.

The protestors also decried the harassment and intimidation of local women and human rights and environmental defenders who have been subjected to various forms of violence for voicing their concerns and opposition to the EACOP project.

Reading out the petition to authorities outside the Hoima High Court on Monday, communities emphasised that they are urging the court to uphold the principles of justice with fair, equitable proceedings and respect for the people of Uganda. They went on to state that failure to do so would perpetuate a grave injustice and erode public trust in government institutions and the rule of law.

Signatoories to the petition include Balach Bakundane from the EACOP Host Communities organisation, Samuel Okulony from Environmental Governance Institute, Christopher Oppio from the Oil Refinery Residents Association, and Zaki Mamdoo, StopEACOP Campaign Coordinator.

The communities are demanding that the ongoing evictions of the 42 families impacted by the Tilenga project, and others like them, be immediately halted, that the fundamental human rights of local communities be protected, and that further abuses by the government and corporate interests be prevented, among other things.

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