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The Ugandan government has continued to crack down on voices of dissent and Human Rights Defenders, Climate Activists are the new target.

The government has highly invested in threats, arrests, tortures in prisons, intimidation and the latest on their card is delayed justice.

On 24th November last year (2023), several of our student activists identifying themselves as Students Against EACOP were brutally arrested by the Uganda police forces at the parliament premises after their attempt to deliver a petition peacefully to the parliament of Uganda, arguing the parliament to drop the EACOP project that is a catastrophe to planet Earth and it’s future inhabitants.

Students Against EACOP getting arrested at Uganda Parliament premises after attempting to peacefully deliver a petition to parliament

Seven students were arrested and made to spend up to 25 days in Luzira Maximum prison where they say that they endured torture from government enablers. They were later charged with  “Common Nuisance,” an ancient colonial suit and inciting violence, which has lately turned into a form of time wasting and a point of breaking the spirit of these student activists.

“They are trying everything to break our spirits but we are stronger than ever because we know that we are doing a right thing.” Said Nkrunziza Alphonse, one of the student activists. “The EACOP is a deadly project to the climate and every person of good conscience should speak up against it.” He added

After appearing in court on 12th March 2024 together with several other human rights defenders, the case was again adjourned to 17th April 2024. 

This has been the pattern with many human rights defenders in Uganda after government forging trumped up charges against them to only keep them running around court premises.

The arrested students being arraigned before court

Despite the setbacks, this is the prime time for activism. Planet Earth is in so much need for activists. Each passing day, different young activists are coming on board to carry on advocacy campaigns as well as engage in civil disobedience. 

Allover the world, many climate activists have been vocal on calling on the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments together with the Total Energies and China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to drop the EACOP project. 

Last year, the United Nations Human Rights watch released a report documenting the Ugandan government’s crackdown on anti-fossil fuel activists and environmental defenders.

Due to massive global solidarity, several insurance companies and banks have since pulled out of the project funding after several campaigns and actions. Over 28 Insurers have confirmed their abandonment of the project while over 27 global commercial banks have pulled out of the project.

The Ugandan government with its Total Energies and CNOOC funders are stuck with the EACOP project after several funders pulled out of the project. They now relying on looking at several approaches like borrowing from Chinese funders which has also failed on many fronts.

The Fight against EACOP is in the right direction and with the proposed start of oil drilling set in 2025, we need to double our efforts in order to stop this catastrophe from happening.