EACOP project affected people harassed, arrested in Tanzania for speaking to media

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The StopEACOP Coalition condemns the ongoing blatant harassment and intimidation of East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project Affected People (PAPs) in Tanzania.

On Sunday, June 2nd, police invaded the villages of Diloda and Golimba in Hanang’ District and arrested four PAPs: Gabrieli Daudi, Tiofili Israeli, Marseli Martini,Kamili Fabiano and a community leader Damiano Malle. Their only crime is speaking to the media about their concerns regarding poor compensation and intimidation tactics employed by police in connection with the controversial EACOP project.

These individuals were detained overnight and released today, June 3rd, without charge. Lawyers representing the arrested were denied any explanation for the arrests, with police only stating that the four must return for questioning in “2-3 days” after their investigation is concluded.

This incident follows a May 25th press conference on Africa Day by Ugandan and Tanzanian CSOs working with EACOP-affected communities. The press conference, attended by local and international media, highlighted the project’s severe environmental and social impacts and urged the Chinese government to refuse involvement.

The StopEACOP Coalition is concerned by the continuous misuse of police to stifle opposition to the controversial pipeline. The coalition calls on the Tanzanian government to immediately cease harassing EACOP-PAPs and uphold their fundamental right to freedom of expression.

We further urge the governments of China and France to speak out against this harassment associated with projects developed by companies from their countries. TotalEnergies and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) are also responsible for remaining quiet when these injustices are associated with projects they are involved in.

Zaki Mamdoo, StopEACOP Campaign Coordinator, said: “It is with profound disgust that we witness the ongoing arrests, harassment and poor treatment of community leaders who are simply looking to raise their concerns about EACOP’s devastating impacts on their lives and the wellbeing of their families. It is this violence and destruction that further informs our fight against TotalEnergies and their supporters. We remain resolute: EACOP must be stopped entirely, affected communities must receive restorative justice and reparations, and their developmental aspirations must be respected and upheld.”

Meryne Warah, Organising Director at Greenfaith Global, said: “As people of faith, we express our solidarity with the EACOP-affected communities in Tanzania. We commend their courage in remaining unfazed despite continued intimidation since March this year. It is deeply troubling that the authorities have resorted to heavy-handed tactics to silence them instead of pursuing meaningful dialogue and addressing these valid concerns. We call out the Tanzanian government under Mama Samia Suluhu to Stop the intimidation and uphold justice, human dignity, and environmental protection. These communities deserve to have their voices heard, and their right to freely express themselves must be respected without fear of retaliation.” said

Patience Mlowe, a lawyer, said:”The ongoing harassment and intimidation of communities affected by EACOP in Tanzania by the authorities is a clear violation of their fundamental rights. We urge the Tanzanian government to uphold the rule of law, respect the rights of these communities, and charge them if there is a valid case instead of forcing impoverished villagers to travel over 120km for fruitless investigations.”

 

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