Park and Species Endangered: The Virunga Landscape in Danger

Extract from Global Witness last investigation on Uganda’s mining sector, a story on endemic corruption and mismanagement profiting at the expense of the Ugandan people, environment and economy. Almost half the world’s remaining mountain gorillas are at risk as mining threatens Bwindi and Rwenzori national parks, part of the famous Virunga ecosystem – this risks… Read More

Global Mobilization for Protection of UNESCO World Heritage against Oil: Save Virunga

Joint statement in support of moratorium on all oil activities in the wider Virunga area The undersigned call on UNESCO and the governments of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)i to reach an agreement to prevent any oil exploration, extraction or related activities in the wider Virunga area which is key to the… Read More

Global Witness welcomes the European Parliament’s resolution on the protection of the Virunga

Africa’s oldest and most bio-diverse national park – under threat from oil. Global Witness welcomes the European Parliament’s resolution on the protection of the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), which calls for EU Member States to help prevent oil activities in the Park and neighbouring areas. It also calls on… Read More

Campaigners in Virunga urge UK’s SFO to take allegations against SOCO seriously

Local campaigners in Virunga urge UK’s Serious Fraude Office to  take the allegations against the company SOCO seriously in order to protect local communities and save Virunga National Park. Local campaigners in Virunga, some of whom have suffered intimidation and scare tactics in the course of their activism protecting the national park, wrote to Clifford Chance to… Read More

Global Witness welcomes Church of England’s decision to divest £1.6 million holding in Soco

Soco has also so far failed to commit in writing to UNESCO that it will not, under any circumstances, explore or drill for oil inside Virunga’s current boundaries. On 30 June, at the UNESCO World Heritage in Bonn, Germany, delegates voted to adopt a draft resolution on Virunga reiterating that oil exploration is incompatible with… Read More

Oil-related Corruption, Bribery Alleged in Virunga: The Story Continues

A fabled park in the Democratic Republic of Congo is under pressure from oil developers. And activists allege the dealings are tainted by corruption. Jeffrey Young full article was published on April 20th In VOA Virunga National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to volcanoes and some of the world’s few remaining mountain… Read More

Questions Remain About the Use of Threats and Physical Violence Against oil Opponents in Virunga

Some of the most serious questions that SOCO International has to answer relate to allegations that its representatives and allies used threats and physical violence against opponents of the company’s operations in Virunga. There have been worrying reports from credible and respected local organisations since at least 2012 of SOCO International allies orchestrating a campaign of… Read More

FEB 2015: Church of Engeland Joins Virunga Communities and asks Independent Inquiry of Soco’s operations

Move follows film backed by Leonardo DiCaprio and pleas by local NGOs, environmentalists, transparency campaigners and members of the UK Parliament to protect Congo’s Virunga park. The church – led by archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, a former oil executive – has said that it may sell its near £3m stake in Soco International unless… Read More

Virunga discussed in UK Parliament: Serious Concerns Remain

Allegations of human rights abuses and corruption, associated with SOCO International’s oil exploration in and around Virunga National Park, were discussed in the UK parliament this week. In the House of Commons on 17th December 2014, Pauline Latham MP OBE raised the Question: “Will the Secretary of State tell us what her Department has done… Read More

NOV 2014: Sir David Attenborough facing new battle to save Virunga Gorillas

Sir David Attenborough facing new battle to save the gorillas: An oil company’s alleged interest in primates’ habitat sparks outrage  An oil company’s alleged interest in primates’ habitat sparks outrage JAMIE MERRILL   . It is more than 35 years since Sir David Attenborough was memorably prodded, poked and groomed by rare African mountain gorillas in front… Read More

SEPT 4, 2014: Global Witness investigates SOCO’s Oil Exploration Activities in Virunga

‘Drillers in the mist’: How secret payments and a climate of violence helped UK firm open African national park to oil British oil company Soco Internationaland its contractors havemade illicit payments, appear to have paid off armed rebels and benefited from fear and violence fostered by government security forces in eastern Congo, as they sought… Read More

Global Witness investigates oil-lobby tactics during UNESCO meeting on Virunga

When an oil company promises to suspend hugely controversial work in Africa’s oldest national park it should be cause for celebration. But the commitment by British oil company Soco to withdraw from Virunga National Park—a Congolese World Heritage Site that is home to rare mountain gorillas—was rife with ambiguity. If it sounds too good to… Read More