The illegal eviction of innocent Sengwer families from their ancestral homes in Embobut forest, Western Kenya.


On January 16th 2014 the Government of Kenya started burning families' grass-thatch houses (containing all their possessions, including food and clothes) in an effort to illegally evict the Sengwer community from their ancestral lands in the Embobut area of the Cherangany Hills, Western Kenya.

Please help by DONATING and SIGNING PETITION

 

DONATE: We are raising money to support the Sengwer people through this crisis.  We need funds to transport journalists to the forest and to support the legal action.  Please send your donation to Sengwer Aid:

Account name: Sengwer Aid.

Account No: 35303258.

Address:  Yorkshire Bank, Market Square, Goole DN14 5DS.

Sort code: 05-04-39 

  

SIGN PETITION: We need your help - please sign the petition:

http://sengweraid.us3.list-manage.com/track/click?u=55dc7c6867c4a6f352f1e723d&id=0a2a90f02d&e=432cad33fb

  

Latest information received from Yator Kiptum, 17th April 2014:

We went to court as expected on 8th April then it was postponed till 10th April. On the latter date the Judge again gave another hearing date to be on 30th May 2014.  The National Land Commission made a positive response to letters and petitions raised by organizations on behalf of Sengwer peoples. We are grateful for the continued support of all at Sengwer Aid.

As much positive steps are being taken at  national and international level, KFS Rangers have continued to bridge the rule of law. They have threatened people with arrests even some community members have been arrested. They now plan to "arrest all livestock and human beings still in the forest" against court orders.

Lets keep the struggle strong and alive

Much thanks and good wishes, Yator

 

Sengwer people continue to be harassed by Kenya Forest Service Rangers in Embobut Forest, 1st April, 2014

We received a report from Yator Kiptum, a trusted and respected Sengwer leader well known to us, on 1st April 2014.  He told us that, following the burning of their homes, members of the Sengwer community in the Embobut Forest  continue to face harassment at the hands of Kenya Forest Service rangers.

Rangers have pulled down the temporary structures made of polythene which  people built after their homes had been burnt down.    Rangers have also destroyed tents and cattle pens, confiscated food stuff and taken money from the people.  Families have been broken up.  Most women have left the forest for fear of arrest and they have taken their children with them so that they can still go to school.  Most of the men continue to live in the forest.

The situation is getting worse as rains begin and temperatures fall.  

Most of the people interviewed recently by journalists who went to Embobut Forest insisted that they want to remain on their ancestral lands in order to avoid extinction as a tribe.  They want to protect their culture and traditions and family bonds and live with the spirits of their ancestors buried in the forest.

Under the new constitution the Kenyan government is required to respect the ancestral rights of minority groups.  Communities cannot be forced from their homes and land by force.   The Kenyan government claims to be taking this action in order to protect the forest environment and the water catchment.  However, it is clear that the method they are using to remove Sengwer people from the land is unconstitutional, illegal and extremely cruel.  

What is more the Environment and Land Court in Eldoret High Court has twice ordered that the Kenyan Forest Service stop burning the homes of the Sengwer people and stop harassing them.  These Court Orders have been ignored and Contempt of Court Proceedings will now he heard in Eldoret on 8 April 2014.

 

INFO: For more information on this crisis see the link to the 'Kenyan Star' daily newspaper, 2nd April 2014: 

http://www.the-star.co.ke/news/article-161371/sengwer-living-caves-embobut

 

INFO: For further background information on the plight of the Sengwer please visit: 



http://www.forestpeoples.org/topics/rights-land-natural-resources/news/2013/12/urgent-appeal-against-forced-eviction-sengwerchera

 

 Families forced to leave their homes

 

 Armed guards approaching houses to evict the families

 

 Burning homes of innocent evicted families