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Total in Uganda, six NGOs protest



► What is the background of the case?

In 2006, large oil reserves were discovered in the heart of the Murchison Falls Protected Natural Park in Uganda. " Total, in association with other British and Chinese oil companies (Tullow and CNOOC Limited), has positioned itself to develop a colossal project "Say Friends of the Earth France, Survival and four Ugandan organizations.

This oil project called "Tilenga" intends to operate six oil fields. The French group is the operator and main investor of this oil consortium (its stake is 54.9%).

► What does Total plan to do?

The multinational plans to drill 419 wells, scattered across 34 shelves, mainly within the protected natural area of ​​Murchison Falls, for a production of about 200,000 barrels a day, according to these organizations.

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The project also includes associated infrastructure, in particular the construction of an industrial zone with a treatment plant on the edge of the park in the district of Buliisa. It also has a refinery and an airport. Finally, it includes the construction of a pipeline " the world's longest heated pipeline That covers 1,448 km of the refinery in the port of Tanga, Tanzania. It will be built by a consortium formed by the French multinational Total, the British Tullow, the Chinese CNOOC and the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments.

► Why is this project a problem?

In March 2017, the French law on the duty of surveillance of parent companies and purchasers was promulgated. It allows to process in France the subsidiaries and
multinational subcontractors in case of violations of human and environmental rights
caused by its activities, in France and abroad. The Total Group is required to establish, make public and effectively implement a "due diligence plan," including "due diligence measures" to identify risks and prevent such violations, emphasize the complainants.

However, the acquisition of land and the resettlement of people involved in the Tilenga project are already undermining human rights, says Friends of the Earth, Survival and four Ugandan organizations: the displacements of the populations already engaged worsened the already precarious situation of the affected families, with serious consequences for food, health and the presence of children in school. "

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In addition, this project involves very serious risks for the environment in the sense that
wide: air, climate, noise and vibration, soil geology, fauna and flora, aquatic life, biodiversity. " Pollution that can affect the rights of local populations, including their right to health and livelihood (access to safe drinking water, contamination of soil and water used for plantations, respiratory diseases, etc.). "

► What does Total answer?

Asked on Tuesday 25 June by La Croix about the allegations brought by these NGOs, Total responds to having " We received the whole file this afternoon and will review it before commenting. And add " We would like to point out, however, that Total has proposed a meeting for Friends of the Earth twice in recent weeks due to concerns expressed in the media. So far, we have received no response from them to these proposals. "

► What next?

" Total has three months to respond to and fulfill its obligations: to develop, publish and, above all, effectively implement measures to avoid serious damage to human rights and the environment in the context of this project. Uganda ", Explain associations, before specifying:" If, after three months, the company has not responded or acted satisfactorily, we may have recourse to the court to make it comply with its obligations, if necessary, under financial penalty. "


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