French activists say 100,000 hurt by Total's Ugandan oil operation

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil giant Total is seen at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie
FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil giant Total is seen at La Defense business and financial district in Courbevoie

PARIS (Reuters) - Over 100,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania have been hurt by human rights violations linked to Total's <TOTF.PA> oil operations in Uganda, two French activist groups said in a report on Tuesday.

Friends of the Earth and a second group called Survie are seeking a court order requiring Total to disclose how it is addressing the adverse impact of its activities, citing an obligation to do so under French law.

Total rejected allegations that it had infringed on human rights in a statement, saying its project had been conceived with the aim of minimising the impact on residents in the area as much as possible.

It said no-one had had to leave their land without appropriate compensation, and that it was looking to introduce a system of interim payments after the coronavirus pandemic caused delays to the project.

The campaign groups, along with Ugandan activists, have alleged that Total intimidated and failed to properly compensate local landowners affected by work on its Tilenga project in Uganda, and said environmental safeguards were insufficient.

They added in their latest report that the situation was also disrupting access to education and healthcare in some cases.

One French court previously ruled it was not within its remit to judge the case. The activists appealed the decision, and another ruling is due next week.

(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and Sarah White; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Alexandra Hudson)