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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid