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Tuesday, August 9, 2022

350Africa demands release of arrested environmental activists in Uganda

350Africa.org has condemned the arrest of six climate activists from the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and called for their immediate and unconditional release,

Landry Ninteretse
Landry Ninteretse, 350Africa.org Regional Director

The group stated that the arrest was made under “unclear circumstances”, and that  a nursing mother and an ailing lady were among those arrested.

“350 Africa.org condemns the move to arrest the six in the strongest terms possible and calls for their immediate and unconditional release,” it announced in a statement.

Landry Ninteretse, 350Africa.org Regional Director, said: “We stand with our comrades from AFIEGO, who have been arrested under unclear circumstances in Uganda and are currently being held at Kiira police station.

“This incident is clearly part of a campaign of intimidation, harassment and persecution of civil society organisations defending the rights of communities affected by destructive and extractive projects, especially oil projects in which TotalEnergies is the main player. AFIEGO has been on the frontline of the fight for environmental conservation and the fight for the rights of project affected community members.

“We urge our partners and members of the public to stand with us in calling for the immediate release of the team. 350Africa.org calls on the Ugandan authorities to seriously address the complaints of the affected communities in  a rapid and satisfactory manner and always put forward the best interests of its citizens before those of multinationals like TotalEnergies. The fight for the environment and a sustainable future for generations to come, should not come at a cost to the freedom and lives of the climate defenders.”

Friday’s arrest follows a police raid on the AFIEGO’s Kampala offices on Wednesday October 13, 2021. During the raid, police arrested some staff members, including two nursing mothers. The staff were released on police bond on Wednesday October 13 and Thursday October 14, 2021. A holding charge of operating without a permit was preferred against them. Police informed the staff that the National Bureau for Non-governmental organisations (NGO Bureau) had ordered their arrest.

On August 20, 2021, the NGO Bureau issued a directive in which it ordered AFIEGO and 53 other NGOs or non-profit companies to halt their work. AFIEGO has been vocal in advocating for the rights of communities affected by the Tilenga, East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and oil refinery projects.

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