Communities fed up with ReconAfrica

The Canadian oil and gas company ReconAfrica is under fire for failing to abide by Namibian and international human rights laws.

The company has drawn controversy from local communities and watchdog groups for cutting corners and failing to fully assess the environmental effects of its oil drilling operations since 2020.

ReconAfrica has proceeded to drill test wells before acquiring the required permits.

The company has further failed to do the required new and full environmental impact assessment (EIA) and has merely amended an existing EIA for a previous drill operation.

A 12-well drilling programme was added, with no consultation with the public.

ReconAfrica’s environmental consultant is said to have restricted Namibian organisations and affected communities from raising its concerns.

Affected communities have submitted an official complaint to the Canadian Ombudsperson for Responsible Enterprises in which they point out the following: “Despite the various safeguards in place in Namibian law to protect the environment and local communities in the context of extractive activities, ReconAfrica not only violated such requirements imposed by domestic laws and regulations, but also violated international human rights law in the course of its operations in the Kapinga Kamwalye Conservancy (including Mbambi and Shakambu villages), Ncaute Community Forest (including Kawe and Ncaute villages), Ncumcara Community Forest, Likwaterera Community Forest (including Shiwandamo village), Khaudum North Complex (composed of George Mukoya Conservancy and Muduva Nyangana Conservancy), and surrounding areas.”

Over 400 000 people have signed a global petition started by the chair of the Kapinga Kamwalye Community Conservancy, Thomas Muronga.

The petition urges the minister of environment, forestry, and tourism to make an official ruling and revoke ReconAfrica’s drilling licence.

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