January 27, 2023

Demand for the Release of Activist Barigye Bob

Contact: Abiud Onyach
Email: [email protected]

Kampala – The StopEACOP campaign is deeply concerned about the ongoing detention of the climate activist Barigye Bob. Bob, a respected and well-known advocate for social justice and human rights working with the African Initiative on Food Security and Environment (AIFE), was arrested on 24th January 2023 and detained at Wandegeya Police Station for organising a debate on environmental, human rights and economic impact of the controversial East African Oil Crude Pipeline (EACOP). Despite having committed no crime, he has been held in custody without charge for the last two days.

This comes at a time when the government of Uganda and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) launched oil drilling at the Kingfisher project, a move that shows complete disregard of the voices of Ugandans who have resisted the project owing to its potential impacts on biodiversity and the climate.

We strongly condemn the use of arbitrary detention to suppress peaceful dissent and call for the immediate release of Barigye Bob. His continued detention violates his fundamental human rights and is a clear violation of international law. We also call on the international community to raise their voices in support of his release and to hold the Ugandan authorities accountable for their actions.

Brian Atuheire- Executive Director, AIFE

“We refuse to be intimidated and insist that we shall continue to exercise our right to assemble and debate this project with citizens because we must have a say in the development we want. We will not be silenced. We will not be intimidated. We demand the release of Barigye Bob and the protection of the rights of all activists and human rights defenders.”

Diana Nabiruma, Senior Communications Officer, AFIEGO

“The Ugandan government must make a decision to respect every Ugandan’s freedom to assemble, as guaranteed under Uganda’s Constitution. The government should not allow those who support oil and gas exploitation to assemble while denying those against the same right. All Ugandans are equal, and their rights must be upheld.”

Landry Ninteretse – Regional Director, 350Africa.org

“The injustice faced by activists in Uganda is a reminder that we can’t stop speaking against this controversial pipeline and its negative impacts on the environment and local communities. We stand with Bob and all those facing persecution for speaking truth to power and urge Ugandan authorities to uphold the fundamental rights of its citizens”

Juliette Renaud senior campaigner at Friends of the Earth France

“The constant harassment and detention of activists in Uganda is unacceptable, as are the human rights violations and environmental impacts associated with the Tilenga and EACOP project. Ugandan citizens should have the right to freely express their legitimate criticisms and opposition to these oil projects. If Total really cares about the rights of environmental defenders, it should suspend its projects until these rights are fully respected. We stand with Bob and request his immediate release.”


Notes to Editors:

#StopEACOP is a global campaign against the construction of the East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP), a proposed 1,443-kilometer heated pipeline that will transport oil from Hoima, Uganda, to the port of Tanga in Tanzania. An alliance of local groups, communities, and African and global organisations leads the campaign. The #StopEACOP Coalition has been calling for a stop to the proposed pipeline and associated oil fields at Tilenga and Kingfisher. The #StopEACOP campaign is gathering momentum, building pressure on the remaining supporters and financiers of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Recently, AEGIS London, Arch Capital Group Ltd and Britam Holdings announced that they would not offer the project insurance coverage. So far, 24 major banks and 22 major (re)insurers have ruled out support for the pipeline. Some financial institutions yet to commit to not funding EACOP include Standard Bank, AIG, ICBC, MUFG, Standard Chartered, and SMBC.