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The Albertine region of Uganda is the region where Oil and natural gas has been discovered and drilling is slated to start next year, just like the Ogoni people of Niger Delta in Nigeria, Oil has come with it’s very many negative impacts include land grabbing, human rights abuses and environmental degradation .To avert the worst situation, human rights and environmental defenders are mobilizing to address some of the negative impacts brought by Oil and gas exploration activities. Due to their bravery, human rights defenders and environmental activists are unjustly being beaten, detained and threatened by law enforcement and private security companies, Oil companies , intelligence agencies , militants ,as well as some political parties that claim to promote democracy and the rule of law.
It’s against the above backgrounds that Ngetha Media Association for Peace with support from East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders and Inter News implemented the digital security project dubbed as “ Tools feedback and digital safety training for Human rights defenders in Albertine region of Uganda”.
The primary aim of the project was to build a team of equipped Human Rights and environmental Defenders and specifically those in the Albertine region being targeted for their human rights and environmental activism.Uganda has become one of the dangerous countries for Human rights defenders recently. The government is using sophisticated techniques to monitor, threaten, and harass human rights defenders. While human rights defenders are at the fore front of social protests and mobilization, as a result, they have become prime targets of government crack downs and surveillance. While these human rights defenders and their organizations are using ICT technologies, social media and internet to drive their agenda, many of them lack the skills or resources to protect themselves effectively when they come under attack. The recent increases in crackdowns and threats against human rights defenders in Uganda force many of them to scale down their activism; leave the profession or resort to self-censorship at best, particularly in the time when Uganda is preparing to start drilling Oil in Lake Albert and refinery process kick starting in near future.
The training attracted more than 15 Human rights and environmental Defenders from different districts in the Albertine region of Uganda. Participants were invited from the African Institute of Energy Governance ( AFIEGO), Green Radio, Biiso FM, Lake Albert Social Network, Kings broadcasting services, Spice FM, Mid-Western region Anti-Corruption coalition, Not your Body, New Vision, Bugungu Heritage and Cultural Information Centre, Buliisa Rural Initiative for Community Development , Reproductive Health Alliance, and independent media practitioners and freelance internet users among others.
The training was co-implemented by Wambui , Alison Macrina, Gordon Agaba, Antonella and Agenonga Robert of Ngetha Media Association for Peace.