SOCO’s Statement in Response to Virunga Communities’ fears
All of these testimonies were filmed in and around Virunga National Park and are meant to give the people of North Kivu a voice about their social, environmental and human rights concerns.
All of these local stories are dealing with oil exploration in Virunga National Park and its potential environmental and human rights impact. As the videos show very clearly, the local people in the area of Virunga National Park and around Lake Edward are highly concerned with the developments concerning intended oil exploration in block V covering 52% of Virunga National Park.
These films witnessed first-hand the promises made to the people of North Kivu and the engagement tactics of the oil company SOCO International plc. It is their voice and fears about the oil developments in Virunga National Park. They are a true and accurate reflection of the people’s concerns for increased conflict and the destruction of vital local livelihoods in the area of interest.
Source: IUCN YouTube
In response to Save Virunga posting on March 17th 2013, read here SOCO’s REPLY
Read here more on the statement of a local NGO condemning the intimidation of the residents of Lake Edward’s fishery Kyavinyonge by the Congolese naval forces.
Eight naval officers and two officers of the Congolese National Police, who took part in a public rally aimed at mobilizing the population to express its support for the oil exploration project in Virunga National Park, reportedly fired eight bullets in the air to free the way for the demonstrators who supported the plans of the oil company SOCO International plc. Many people reported being forced to participate in this event supported by SOCO.
The local organization CREDDHO recognizes the right of every Congolese Citizen to organize or participate in a public demonstration under the laws of the country, but no one can be forced to take part in a demonstration (Article 26 of the Constitution). The fact that the organizers of this event used the military and politicians to force people to participate is contrary to fundamental rights to all Congolese citizens.
As a reminder, the company SOCO International had already been cited in several reports from national and international NGOs for its use of state security forces when engaging with local communities in the fisheries of Lake Edward and promoting its oil exploration project.