“There is still the stigma. We don’t go out as strong any more. We are very cautious about what we say. We don’t say anything controversial in a meeting any more. It affects how we do our things.”
– A staff member of the Uganda Land Alliance, an independent group whose employees faced threats and harassment and that faced de-registration following its research and outspoken criticism of an IFC-financed project.
“Those who delay industrial projects are enemies and I don’t want them. I am going to open war on them.”
– Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, two days after breaking ground on the World Bank-financed Bujagali dam project. Human Rights Watch found that reprisals take place in a broader climate that demonizes critics as “anti-development.”
“Free speech is the cornerstone of transparency and accountability. Where World Bank projects are being implemented, citizens must have a voice.… The World Bank should have done more to protect the security of people speaking out against this project. It’s us who facilitate the voice of the people. I’m not aware of them [the World Bank] doing anything [about the reprisals against critics of this project].… This makes me believe they think free speech is not an issue for them.”
– Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, a human rights defender and journalist who covered forced evictions in Uganda linked to an IFC-financed project.