Kenyan government to sent elite security forces against unarmed indigenous Sengwer in Embobut forest: “Anyone found in the forest will be deemed to be a criminal and will be ‘dealt with’”. As a result, on 29 December 2017, more than 100 Kenya Forest Service guards entered the Sengwer communitiy’s lands. They fired gunshots, burned at least 15 homes, and killed livestock. During the raid, a Kenya Forest Service guard shot and killed Robert Kirotich, a 41-year-old indigenous Sengwer man. Another man was wounded. According to Forest Peoples Programme, a group of 40 Kenya Forest Service guards attacked Kirotich while he was herding cattle in the Embobut forest.
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.
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 said that the evictions and attacks are “as a result of the implementation of the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation project, an EU-funded water management project”.
“We are concerned that the project is being undertaken without a human rights impact assessment,” the experts said ,“Consultations have not been held with the Sengwer to seek their free, prior and informed consent”.
On January 17 however, the European Union has suspended funding the €31 million programme, until a rights-based approach is incorporated.
The EU delegation to Kenya, the EU’s Ambassador, Stefano A. Dejak, said “Yesterday’s shooting took place after we had formally alerted Kenya’s Government that the use of force by Kenya Forest Service guards in the Embobut Forest or elsewhere against innocent locals would lead the EU to suspend its financial support for conservation work on the country’s water towers. Accordingly, we are now suspending the support to the Water Towers Programme with the Government of Kenya.”