b_150_100_16777215_00_images_Embobut5.jpg
Wrongly justified by conservation, thousands of indigenous people in Western Kenya are threatened with their homes being burnt and their communities evicted from their ancestral forestlands.
Thousands of indigenous Sengwer/ Cherangany people in Embobut Forest, Kenya, are threatened with eviction from their forest homes by January 2nd 2014.
 
For many years the Government of Kenya has been trying to move the indigenous Sengwer/ Cherangany of Embobut forest off their ancestral land by burning their homes. The Government has done this in the name of a (long since discredited) fortress conservation approach: seeking to remove local people from their lands, rather than support them in protecting their forests. Such an eviction is illegal under the Kenyan constitution, and under the international treaties signed by Kenya.
The new President of Kenya took what at first appeared to be a new approach. He came to Embobut in November and promised people a small amount of money to move. However, now that it is clear people are refusing to move, this is being followed up with a threat of imminent eviction. 
 
Instead, the rights of those who have conserved their forests for centuries need to be recognised. They need to be supported to continue to protect their forest, and the twin threats of institutional (Government) led deforestation and deforestation by others seeking to exploit the forest need to be addressed.
 
Evicting local people may be part of the Kenyan Government’s attempt to secure REDD money for themselves (money from schemes for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation). This is likely to involve establishing more alien pine plantations (supposed enhanced carbon storage) which will do nothing to help restore the "water towers", but will instead only cause major ecological damage in the catchment, besides impacting negatively on the water resources of adjacent and downstream communities. Whatever their intention, the ‘fortress conservation’ approach such evictions embody is unworkable, will end up destroying the forests and the communities, and tramples indigenous peoples' rights underfoot.

The indigenous communities are calling for urgent action to stop their eviction from their forestlands, an eviction that would be illegal under the Kenyan Constitution.
 
The Appeal, being circulated by the Forest Peoples Programme, is up on the FPP website. See Annex 2 for detailed background on the case, and see page 7 of Annex 2 for a proposed way forward:
 
The Appeal, Annex 1: Kenya's Human Rights Commitments and Annex 2: Proposed solution to the crisis are available here: