The Make Big Polluters Pay (MBPP) group has condemned what it described as systematic repression, undue influence, and resort to intimidation of oil communities by oil giant firm, TotalEnergies operating in the Africa environment , insisting that the oil giant should be put on global spotlight.
Particularly, the coalition during a webinar on Friday which Sunday Sun participated, at the “People’s Mock Tribunal asked ”TotalEnergies to respect people’s dignity and rights especially those of local communities that have been allegedly affected by their exploration”
The mock tribunal was informed by the need to put global spotlight on TotalEnergies for alleged intimidation, displacement, and various environmental and human rights abuses through the Tilenga Oil project and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Kasinyi, Kigoya, Kirama, Kiyere, Kigwera and other villages in the Buliisa District of Uganda.
The tribunal which was made up of twelve observers and five jury members heard from ten directly affected community members. It also created a platform to uplift struggles of extractivism and advances regional precedents for liability address.
The verdict of the Peoples Tribunal was that “ various alleged violations of rights registered in the 10 cases presented by the project-affected persons are instances of systematic repression, undue influence, duress, and resort to intimidation of communities and peoples who appear helpless in the face of a system that has failed and is still failing to protect them.
“That the projects such as the Tilenga project have direct consequences such as ecological damage, land grabbing, corruption, corporate capture, and greenwashing.
“That the Tribunal finds that there is an urgent need by TotalEnergies to respect people’s dignity and rights especially those of local communities that have been allegedly affected by their activities and make immediate remedies for the avoidance of further actions, both collective and individual.”
According to Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes, CAPPA,
“For the Make Big Polluters Pay Africa Coalition, the Peoples Tribunal for Justice and Reconciliation is our own way of amplifying the stifled voices of local communities impacted by extractive corporations in Uganda. But the tales from other countries are not different.
“From Nigeria’s heavily polluted Niger Delta to South Africa, Ghana and now Uganda the story is the same. Local people carry the burdens while the corporations plunder and make profit. In most cases, the government also looks away”
Eminent jurors who interrogated the alleged victims and arrived at a verdict at the end of the tribunal are Nnimmo Bassey, director of Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) from Nigeria, Kwami Kpondzo, executive director of Center for Environmental Justice Togo, Aderonke Ige, associate director at Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) as well as Kabonesa Sophia and Bamuturaki William, both representatives of affected communities.
Recall that the Make Big Polluters Pay global campaign was launched in 2019. The coalition includes organizations such as CAPPA, HOMEF, Center for Environmental Justice Togo, Gender CC South Africa – Women for Climate Change, and Vision for Alternative Development (VALD). Others include Kebetkache Women Development Center in Nigeria, Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and Africa Center for Advocacy (ACA) among others.
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