Human rights defenders in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region have condemned the arrest of environmental activists under the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO).
In a report released by the Executive Director, Defend Defenders who is also Chairperson, Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network under Human rights defenders in the East and Horn of Africa sub-region Hassan Shire said that the arrest was uncalled for.
He stated that the arrest of six Ugandan environmental rights campaigners was intended to intimidate the activists from their activism against country’s multi-billion-dollar oil pipeline – the East African Oil Pipeline(EACOP) involving the government of the United Republic of Tanzania and French oil company, Total.
The activists are members of AFIEGO, which Uganda’s leading environmental rights body which was part of 54 NGOs suspended by the country’s NGO board in August this year.
On 22 October 2021, Police in Kyotera district , arrested and detained Robert Biriyume, a human rights defender and member of communities affected by the EACOP, who was mobilising the community to defend their land rights.
He was charged with “incitement to violence, sabotage of the government program and unlawful illegal assembly and later released on bond.
Recently the Executive Director of AFIEGO Dickens Kamugisha and other five of his colleagues were arrested and detained for days in Kampala.