A group of activists referring to themselves as “friends of Uganda” have filed a petition to the government of Denmark appealing for a suspension of funding to the Ugandan government over its human rights record.
In the February 14th 2024 letter to the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation and Global Climate Policy, Mr Dan Jorgensen, the activists are calling for an urgent suspension of funding to the Ugandan government and halting support for the environmentally contentious East African Crude Oil Project(EACOP).
“We write to express our deep concern regarding your past and the recent financial support extended to Mr Museveni’s regime by the Danish government, as reported in the meeting on January 24, 2024,” reads the petition in part.
“The substantial funds allocated, ostensibly for climate change and refugees, have raised alarm given the ongoing human rights violations, displacement, and environmental degradation associated with the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project in Uganda.” Adds the petitioners.
The petitioners allege that the EACOP initiative has been marred by egregious acts such as land grabbing, illegal displacements, and environmental harm since its inception in 2017. They also note that there have been disturbing trends of gross human rights violations, especially concerning the construction of the pipeline which has adversely impacted local communities, wildlife, and the overall climate.
They also accuse the Kampala regime of misappropriating most of the financial support provided to the country, resulting in the purchase of arms, tear gas, and other tools of oppression, rather than addressing the urgent needs of the people of Uganda.
The situation, they claim, has led to the displacement of countless individuals, who now reside in makeshift camps under deplorable conditions without compensation for their losses.
Also protested is the recent request by Mr. Museveni for the Danish government’s support in the ‘wetland reclamation program which they say “is deeply troubling.”
“ We must question the legitimacy of such initiatives and ensure that funds are directed towards transparent and accountable projects that genuinely benefit the Ugandan population,”
“Numerous reports and documented cases highlight the severe human rights abuses, arrests, and illegal detentions of individuals advocating for their rights and protesting against the EACOP project. The lack of due diligence before extending financial support is a matter of grave concern, and we urge the Danish government to reassess its involvement in this project.” They submit.
In light of the above, the petitioners have, therefore, demanded the Ceasing of all financial support to Mr Museveni’s regime and the EACOP project immediately, a public declaration by Denmark that the country will not contribute further to the EACOP project and a commitment to advocate for other nations, including the UK, EU, USA, Germany, and others, to withdraw support for the EACOP project.
“The consequences of continued funding to Mr Museveni’s regime and the EACOP project are dire, with lasting effects on the human rights, environment, and future of Uganda. We implore you to act swiftly and decisively in the interest of justice, human rights, and accountability.”
“For a comprehensive understanding of the situation, we encourage you to review the evidence we have compiled, including videos, pictures, and news articles, available through the following links,” the petitioners further appeal.
The petition also delved into the 2021 contested general elections which they claim was violent with President Museveni exerting a lot of undue brutality on opposition supporters, many of whom remain incarcerated to date. Based on the above, they are of the view that stringent conditions are put in place before advancing any more support to the regime in Kampala.
“Given the alarming documentary evidence by the BBC detailing President Museveni’s brutal actions during the 2021 presidential election campaigns in Uganda, it is imperative that conditions are established before providing any further funding to his administration. The ongoing reports of abductions, rape, torture, and murder indicate a clear violation of human rights in the country. To ensure that funds are utilised for the betterment of Ugandans and not to further oppress them, stringent preconditions must be implemented.”
“These conditions should prioritise the respect for human rights, accountability, and transparency, ensuring that the financial assistance serves its intended purpose and contributes positively to the well-being of the Ugandan people.” The petition further demands, with hope “that Denmark will stand on the right side of history.”
January 24, President Museveni met with the Danish Envoy, Mr. Dan Jorgensen, who is the Minister for Development Cooperation & Global Climate Policy, and his delegation at State Lodge Nakasero where he requested the Danish government’s support for his wetland reclamation program, which aims to address the issue of illegal rice growers in swamps that serve as important sources of rainfall in Uganda.
“I have a wetland reclamation program to encourage these illegal rice growers in swamps to relocate. They are there illegally, so I try to incentivize them. I wouldn’t call it compensation because they are the ones in the wrong. Therefore, if you can mobilize funding to incentivize them to leave the swamps and engage in fish farming on the periphery instead of the centre,” President Museveni explained.
In response, the Danish envoy appreciated President Museveni’s efforts and commitment to addressing climate change and refugee issues. He expressed Denmark’s willingness to support Uganda’s wetland reclamation program and contribute $95 million to help mitigate the effects of climate change and provide assistance to refugees.