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These Insurance Giants Must Publicly Reject a New Oil Pipeline in East Africa

By Hannah Saggau, Insurance Campaigner for Public Citizen

“EACOP is a disaster. EACOP is a carbon bomb. EACOP is a climate hell — and EACOP is destroying our lives in Uganda and Tanzania.” These were the powerful words from Ugandan climate and human rights activist Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya as he spoke to protestors gathered outside AIG insurance’s headquarters on a chilly February day in New York City. Around 40 activists rallied to demand that AIG and Chubb — two of the largest oil and gas insurers in the world — pledge not to insure the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Check out our video recap of the action on Twitter and Instagram to hear more from Hillary!

As part of a Global Week of Action, activists in 19 cities across North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia pressured banks and insurers not to support EACOP. Because without insurance coverage and financial support, developers cannot build EACOP.

Take action in solidarity with activists around the world: Email AIG and Chubb executives to demand these insurers never support EACOP or any oil and gas expansion!

EACOP is a Climate & Human Rights Disaster

The construction of EACOP hasn’t even begun, but already the project has been tied to human rights abuses and threats to critical water resources and protected ecosystems in Tanzania and Uganda.

“Over 100,000 people are going to be affected by this pipeline.” — Joseph Senyonjo, coordinator of the Uganda diaspora community in New York and New Jersey

Joseph Senyonjo spoke passionately at the action about the human rights threats posed by EACOP, highlighting large-scale displacement and the undercompensation or lack of compensation for many families who have sold their lands to make way for the pipeline. Living in the U.S., Joseph is able to freely speak out against EACOP. Yet local activists and journalists critical of the project in Uganda have faced intimidation, harassment, threats, and arrests. Further, developers TotalEnergies and Chinese state company CNOOC failed to consult local communities adequately prior to proceeding with the project and provided misleading information about its risks and potential economic benefits.

“Any oil spill means that the water is going to be contaminated…that is the mess AIG wants to insure.” — Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya, Ugandan climate and human rights activist

At the action, parents and kids from Climate Families NYC spilled black slime to represent the threat of oil spills to critical water resources posed by EACOP. The pipeline route crosses numerous lakes, rivers, and wetlands, including the basin of Lake Victoria, on which 40 million people depend. The project would also threaten protected wildlife areas, such as Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park. If completed, EACOP would unleash 34 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year even though we cannot afford any new fossil fuel extraction projects.

Insurers Enable EACOP’s Destruction

“When you pay for insurance, AIG and Chubb are using those funds for destructive pipeline projects both here and all over the world.” — Kier Blake, co-founder and Director of Community Partnerships at Start:Empowerment

Once Kier Blake had the mic, they tied EACOP’s risks back to the project’s insurance enablers. To date, 22 insurance companies have vowed not to provide coverage for EACOP — but AIG and Chubb are among those that have remained silent. These companies are among the world’s largest insurers of oil and gas expansion projects. But there’s evidence that — together — we can move them:

That’s why we need you to take action now to make sure AIG & Chubb feel the heat: Tell executives not to insure EACOP — or any fossil fuel expansion projects — and respect human rights!