Ugandan lawyers have sued the government for approving a private company to clear parts of a natural forest for sugarcane growing.
Pheona Wall, president of Uganda Law Society (ULS), said in a statement that they seek to have the civil division of the High Court in Kampala declare null and void a decision by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to allow Hoima Sugar Limited to clear 5,500 hectares in the Bugoma Forest Reserve in the mid-western district of Kikuube for sugarcane growing. The ULS petitioned in conjunction with Environment Shield Limited, a civic organization specializing in climate, natural resources and Resource Rights Africa, a research organization that advocates the promotion and protection of people’s rights, saying the NEMA decision is fraudulent.
The applicants also want the court to declare that the pre-environmental and social impact assessment report by Hoima Sugar was shallow, inaccurate and misleading, hence threatening the right of Ugandans to a decent, clean and healthy environment. The petition came a week after the High Court ruling in Kampala that authorized the government decision to allow Hoima Sugar to clear the forest reserve, about 250 km mid-west of the country’s capital, Kampala.