May 2, 2019

Safety and Security Trainings for at risk Environmental Defenders in Adjumani District

Between 2nd-4th, May 2019, Ngetha Media Association for Peace conducted three days of digital security training for at-risk Environmental Defenders in Adjumani district. The training was hosted by Friends of Zoka Fores (FOZ), a local environmentalists Group fighting against environmental abuse in the Northern Albertine region in the district of Adjumani, Amuru, and Moyo respectively. At least 15 members of the Friends of Zoka Forest were trained in digital security and physical security tips as well were availed to them during the three days engagement that took place at Adjumani Multipurpose Centre. Adjumani is one of the districts in the Albertine region where Environmental Defenders are facing great challenges including but not limited to inadequate legal representation, political challenges where politicians think Environmental Defenders are interested in their position. The major threats to the workshop participants were Identified to be both digital and physical threats, judicial harassment, blackmail, surveillance and threats by Resident District Comisners RDC's as well as the Police Environmental Defenders exposing illegal logging and destruction of forest and natural resources often face threats because they are working on sensitive issues involving high profile businessmen, government officials and multinational companies involved in criminal activities that are directly contributing to adverse impacts of climate changes and destruction of forests, rivers, and sacred sites. Many of these Defenders do not have access to the protection mechanism. As the oil exploration progresses, the threat on the ecosystem, land grabbing among others in and around the Albertine region is escalating, there have been incidents of human rights violations scattered around the Albertine region and the battle to expose these violations and their perpetrators lies with a small group of ill-equipped individuals, lacking skills and tools to protect their work and most especially their lives. Therefore, the training was organized purposely to build the capacity of Environmental human rights defenders to assess and mitigate safety risks and how to respond and protect themselves in case of physical and digital attacks. This is an ongoing project of Ngetha Media Association for Peace that aims to strengthen the safety and protection of Environmental human rights defenders through implementing protection measures and providing safety training that is monitored and documented. Ngetha Media Association for Peace believes that in the longer term, this project will contribute to the enhancement of the respect of human rights and environmental protection in Uganda through strengthening the physical and digital safety of Environmental Human Rights Defenders. Media Report of the event can be accessed here https://www.westnileweb.com/news-a-analysis/adjumani/journalist-human-rights-activists-trained-on-digital-security