News / Africa

Oxfam Report Says Thousands Evicted in Uganda Land Grab

Gabe Joselow


The British charity Oxfam has released a new report detailing the forced eviction of people from forests in Uganda to make way for a British timber company. The Ugandan government denies the allegations, and says the numbers are exaggerated.

Oxfam Report Says Thousands Evicted in Uganda Land Grab
Oxfam Report Says Thousands Evicted in Uganda Land Grab

Oxfam says that between 2006 and 2010, more than 22,000 people were evicted in the Kiboga and Mubende districts of central Uganda as part of a “land grab” by the New Forests Company.

One of the co-authors of the report, Matt Grainger, says Oxfam became aware last year of concerns about the company's operations in Uganda.

“So when we talked to the people and we interviewed those people who had been evicted, their stories were absolutely consistent, and absolutely relentless," said Grainger. "They had been forced out of their homes, they lost their homes, their crops had been destroyed, they couldn't take their belongings, their homes were torched and they were left with nothing.”

Who is to blame?

The New Forests Company
bills itself as being socially and environmentally responsible. It also claims to be the biggest tree planter in Uganda, where it harvests pine and eucalyptus trees, and plants other indigenous species as part of an environmental conservation effort.

The company says it currently has projects covering more than 20,000 hectares of land in the country.

Grainger says New Forests has denied any involvement in the evictions, saying that was the government's job.

“Now, for us, a company operating in a developing country like Uganda can't operate like it's 1961, it can't put all the blame on the government," said Grainger. "New Forests shares responsibility to ensure that people aren't worse off, that they're properly compensated.”

Exaggerated numbers

Uganda's National Forestry Authority (NFA), which ordered the evictions, says Oxfam's numbers are exaggerated.

NFA spokesperson Moses Watara says only 8,000 people were moved from the land, and that for the most part they went peacefully after given four months notice by the police.

Watara also says the New Forest Company's project was important enough to protect.

“We had to act because it was a big investment and these people had really started cutting the trees planted by the company, and yet it is saving the country a lot of money from importing poles, but also creating jobs and even they are building schools and roads for the community in that part of the country,” said Watara.

Encroachment

Watara says encroachment is one of the biggest problems facing the country, and that illegal foresting has contributed to landslides and other environmental degradation.

Oxfam says land grabbing is a global problem, and reports similar cases in South Sudan, Indonesia and Central America.

The group says the problem is made worse by increasing demand for cheap land to grow crops that can be used to make biofuels.



You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs