The Request raises two sets of concerns. The first relates to the valuation of Oruja Rock, which is located in the Requesters’ community and was to have been used as a stone quarry for the rehabilitation of the road. The second relates to the involuntary resettlement process.
The Requesters claim that they are part of a clan that owns the rock and has used it and the surrounding land “since time immemorial for agriculture, artisanal mining, drying cassava, cultural practice, etc.” They raise concerns related to insufficient compensation for their land, loss of livelihood, destruction of their crops, properties and houses, and non-disclosure of project information. The Requesters also raise concerns about intimidation and reprisals. They allege that eight families of their community were coerced into signing unfair lease agreements with the contractor for use of the rock and were pressed to withdraw all grievances related to the rock as well as to land and livelihood issues.
The Panel registered the Request on November 9, 2020.
On January 15, 2021, the Board of Executive Directors approved a Panel request to postpone the deadline for its recommendation on whether to investigate the project. The original deadline for the Panel’s recommendation was January 21, 2021. The Panel asked the Board to extend the deadline to February 26, 2021, citing presidential, parliamentary and local elections that will take place in Uganda from January 14, 2021, until the end of the month, and the current unavailability of government officials to meet with the Panel team.