Friday, January 19, 2018

Murder of Sengwer protestor in Kenya

"There are criminal elements in the forest which must be flushed out," Judi Wakhungu, Kenya's environment minister, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. "The security operation has been designed to return the situation to normal, which is what is likely to happen soon." He said this two days after a man was killed campaigning for a halt to the EU's six-year 3.6 billion shilling ($35 million) water conservation scheme in the Embobut forest, which they claim as their ancestral home. Activists welcomed the EU's move but called on Kenya to allow the Sengwer to return to live in the forest. The Sengwer hunter-gatherers have fought for more than five decades for the right to live in the Embobut forest in the Cherengany Hills, from where they were first evicted by British colonialists in the 19th century.
United Nations Special Rapporteurs expressed concerns on Monday about reports that indigenous Sengwer had been attacked and evicted from their homes as a result of the EU project. More than 100 armed Kenya Forest Service (KFS) guards entered the forest on Dec. 25, firing gunshots and burning at least 15 homes and killing livestock, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said. More than 70 Sengwer houses have been burned and numerous livestock shot dead since the start of January,
Rights groups, including Amnesty International, called on Kenya on Thursday to halt the security operation, which illustrates widespread tensions between indigenous people's land rights and conservation projects around the world.

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