European Union Parliament passed a resolution to force Uganda, Tanzania and all investors in Uganda’s oil and pipeline project to end extraction activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems and shores of Lake Albert.
“Parliament expresses grave concern about arrests, of intimidation and judicial harassment against human rights defenders and NGOs working in the oil and gas sector in Uganda, and calls on the authorities to immediately release anyone arrested arbitrarily,” EU Parliament read.
“MEPs say more than 100,000 people are at imminent risk of displacement due to the EACOP project, with inefficient guarantees of adequate compensation. They ask authorities to adequately compensate people for lost property and land. Parliament also demands the Ugandan authorities allow unhindered access to the zone covered by the project for civil society organizations, independent journalists, international observers and investigative researchers,” EU added.
“This motion and resolution curtails progress of Uganda’s oil & gas developments,” Tayebwa said.
Hon. Tayebwa revealed that the motion in the EU Parliament is based on allegations of human rights violations, climate change, and environmental destruction .
He stated that such is an act of evading Uganda’s independence and sovereignty.
“The motion and resolution is based on misinformation and deliberate misrepresentation of human rights violations and environmental destruction and thus represents the highest level of neo-colonialism and imperialism,” he explained.
He added that the propaganda largely targets the 1445-kilometer East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which will run for 296 kilometers in Uganda. The EACOP represents less than 0.1% of the operational global pipeline network of 1.18million Kilometres.
Tayebwa however asserted that it is not right to say that Uganda’s oil projects will exacerbate climate change, yet it is a fact that the EU block with only 10% of the world’s population is responsible for 25% of global emissions, and Africa with 20% of the world’s population is responsible for 3% of emissions.
He propounded, “The EU and other western countries are historically responsible for climate change. Who then should stop or slow down on development of natural resources? Certainly not Africa or Uganda.
“Over 70% of the persons affected by land acquisition for the projects have been compensated or resettled and are undergoing livelihood improvement projects in agriculture, financial literacy, and vocational skills, among others.”
He explained that efforts to fully compensate all project-affected persons are ongoing, with cooperation from the local communities and leaders. The land is not utilized by the projects before the compensation processes are concluded, and any related grievances are addressed through a participatory process.
“Colleagues, we are all aware that our Country has been gifted with sizeable oil and gas resources that are already generating and creating value for our people in terms of employment, provision of services and goods, technical and another skilling.”
Tayebwa maintained that these resources will also generate significant revenues for the State, and support petrochemical industrialization and the development of other sectors of the economy such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, and health, among others.
“Aware that this House has approved significant investment in Oil Roads and other infrastructure to support the development, it is pertinent that as we have done in the past, we address efforts that aim at frustrating the sovereign right to exploit our resources,” he emphasized.
Tayebwa noted that the House and through responsible Committees will continue providing oversight, to the oil and gas sector and as such, there is no justifiable basis for the EU Parliament or any other institution to recommend that they leave their resources in the ground for these reasons.