The Government of Uganda has through the Ministry of Energy officially responded to the European Union (EU) parliament’s resolution to delay the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.
Addressing journalists at the Uganda Media Centre, the State Minister for Minerals, Mr Peter Lokeris, said the resolution contains several distortions, hearsay, generalisation and blatant display of limited knowledge about realities of Uganda’s oil and gas project.
The minister said while the government of Uganda values its relationship with EU and its institutions, it believes sustenance of the partnership depends on mutual respect.
He said the government is yet to receive formal communication from the EU parliament on their resolutions adding that the government is ready to give a comprehensive and appropriate response once received.
On September 15, 2022, the EU adopted an urgent resolution denouncing the human rights violations as well as the major environmental and climate risks posed by the Tilenga and EACOP projects developed by Total in Uganda and Tanzania.
The EU Members of Parliament (MEPs) recalled that more than 100,000 persons are being evicted to make space for this mega oil project, noting that they are being deprived from the free use of their land and so, from their livelihood even before receiving a compensation.
The resolution also speaks out against the persecution and intimidation faced by civil society organisations and human rights defenders who dare criticize the project, recalling that several human rights defenders have been arbitrarily detained, motivating several UN Special Rapporteurs to send no less than four joint communications in the last two years on this issue.
In the resolution, the MEPs ask to “put an end to the extractive activities in protected and sensitive ecosystems including the shores of Lake Albert, referring to the 132 wells that TotalEnergies EP Uganda plans to dig into the Murchison Falls National Park, a protected area and to the numerous protected ecosystems which the 50°C heated EACOP will cross.
Quoting the International Energy Agency’s 2021 report, they also recall that, to have a chance to limit global warming to 1.5 °C, no new oil extraction project should be developed.
The announcement saw some people including students in the oil-rich Hoima take a document to the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom Prime Minister denouncing the EU parliament resolution holding placards telling the Europeans to “leave our oil.”