Investigation into the eviction of more than 20,000 Ugandans must ensure justice for affected people
Lucy Brinicombe Senior Press Officer
22nd Sep 2011
Oxfam welcomes the announcement by the British company The New Forests Company (NFC) that it will investigate the eviction of more than 20,000 people in Uganda to make way for its forestry plantations but, given the seriousness of the allegations, insists that the investigation must be carried out independently and transparently.
Oxfam's Chief Executive Barbara Stocking said: "By launching the investigation the New Forests Company is acknowledging that something went terribly wrong in Uganda. However, this investigation must be carried out independently and transparently and its findings made public as soon as possible so that the needs of more than 20,000 people who have lost their land and their homes can be addressed.
"Oxfam is concerned that the New Forests Company continues to insist that all the evictions were voluntary and peaceful, despite the evidence and testimony of the people affected clearly showing otherwise. New Forests Company must wake up to the reality of the situation and put things right. Only then can the men, women and children who are struggling to survive get the compensation and alternative land they deserve and begin to piece their lives back together."
The company claims that audits by The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) show that the evictions were voluntary and peaceful. However, Oxfam believes that both processes fell well short of internationally-accepted standards and did not cover both plantations under investigation. In addition the reports do not take account of the experiences of affected communities and do not substantiate their conclusions with hard evidence.
Oxfam's research indicates that at least 22,500 people have lost their homes and land to make way for the British timber company. Many evictees told Oxfam how they were forcibly removed and have been left destitute, without enough food or money to send their children to school.
For more information contact Lucy Brinicombe: 07786 110054 / 01865 472192 / email@example.com or Georgette Ginn: 07824 503108 / 01865 472037 / firstname.lastname@example.org