Uganda: NGOs denounce in a report the "support" of the French State for Total's projects

The French state is putting “all its means at the service of Total” for its gigantic, controversial oil project in Uganda, “in total contradiction with the speeches in favor of human rights and the climate” in Paris, several NGOs accused on October 14.

In their report, the associations Les Amis de la Terre France, the Multinationals Observatory and Survie recall “the devastating impacts on human rights and the environment of Total’s Tilenga (oil extraction) and EACOP (giant oil pipeline) projects in Uganda. and Tanzania ”.

However, they accuse, “it is not only the major oil company which does not take any account of the numerous warnings from civil society and scientists”.

“Indeed, the French State, in total contradiction with its speeches in favor of human rights and the climate, is putting all its means at the service of Total so that these harmful projects succeed,” they add. These projects “are the subject of strong resistance from the local populations” and “have been denounced by four UN special rapporteurs”, they also note.

According to NGOs, Total “debauchery of former senior officials and politicians”

“Public institutions (Elysée, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, French Embassy in Uganda, BpiFrance, French Development Agency, Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations, State Participation Agency, army), supposed to represent and defend the general interest , are misled in favor of oil and the private interests of a multinational ”, write the associations.

“In May 2021, Emmanuel Macron wrote to President Yoweri Museveni to congratulate him on his re-election and to affirm his wish that Total’s oil projects, and in particular the EACOP pipeline, see the light of day”, further denounces the report.

The report also points to the “proximity” of the French ambassador to Kampala Jules-Armand Aniambossou, in post since 2019, with the oil group, and the “omnipresence” of Total within the French community in Uganda.

Total “debauchery of former senior officials and political leaders, or on the contrary encourages its executives to return to the public service, with the result of maintaining confusion between the interests of Total and its shareholders and those of France”, criticism in the Olivier Petitjean press release, from the Multinationals Observatory.

In Uganda, repression of civil society and dissenting voices is growing

The report castigates a “revolving door machinery”, “the back and forth of senior officials between Total and various ministries and key institutions” and cites the names of several people.

“While in Uganda, the repression of civil society and dissenting voices is increasingly strong, the French government does not hesitate to develop its military cooperation with the authoritarian Ugandan regime”, also notes Thomas Bart, of Survie .

The Ugandan regime “announced the deployment of new military contingents to ‘protect’ future oil installations; on the spot, these forces are used to silence any opposition to Total’s project, ”he finally denounces.

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