Last week the EU suspended funding to its Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme in Kenya. The EU suspended funding to the €31 million project after Kenya Forest Service guards shot and killed Robert Kirotich, a 41-year-old indigenous Sengwer man. Another man was wounded.
The European Union has suspended funding to its Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme. The announcement came one day after the EU-funded Kenya Forest Service carried out a raid on the indigenous Sengwer’s land in the Embobut forest. During the raid, a Kenya Forest Service guard shot and killed Robert Kirotich, a 41-year-old indigenous Sengwer man. Another man was wounded.
Three independent experts appointed by the UN have expressed concern about the recent evictions of the indigenous Sengwer from their homes in the Embobut Forest, in the Cherengany Hills, Kenya. The experts are John H. Knox, Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.
For the past four years, REDD-Monitor has been documenting the evictions of the Sengwer indigenous people from their homes in the Embobut Forest, in Western Kenya. The violent evictions have been carried out by the Kenya Forest Service, supposedly in the name of conservation.
The Sengwer are indigenous people who live in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani Hills in Kenya. They have lived there for time immemorial. But since British colonial rule, the Sengwer have been evicted from their homes. From 2007 to 2013, the World Bank funded the Kenya Forest Service but did nothing to support the rights of the Sengwer, in breach of World Bank safeguards.
On 2 April 2017, Kenya Forest Service guards violently attacked Elias Kimaiyo, a Sengwer community leader. The Forest Guards were burning houses belonging to the Sengwer. Kimaiyo was taking photographs.
Since the 1960s, the Sengwer indigenous people living in the Embobut forest have been evicted many times. In recent years, the evictions have intensified.
In July 2009, Navin Rai travelled to the Cherangani Hills in Kenya as part of a delegation of World Bank and Kenyan officials who travelled to the Cherangani Hills in Kenya. At the time Rai was the World Bank’s top adviser on Indigenous Peoples.
Since December 2013, REDD-Monitor has been following the evictions of the Sengwer indigenous people who live in the Cherangany Hills. The evictions have been going on for many years, at the hands of armed Kenya Forest Service guards, who have evicted the Sengwer and burned down their homes.
Last week, the World Bank and the Kenyan Government held a meeting aimed at finding a positive way forward following years of evictions of indigenous people living in the Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills. Days before the meeting started, 30 Sengwer houses were burned.
Last week, the World Bank’s board met to make a decision on an Inspection Panel report about a Bank project in Kenya. The Inspection Panel’s report accused the Bank of failing to protect the rights of the Sengwer forest indigenous community.
The World Bank’s inspection panel has found that the Bank violated its safeguards in a conservation project in the Cherangany Hills in Kenya. Thousands of Sengwer indigenous people have been evicted and their homes burned down.