Read more...

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.

These violent evictions are taking place in the name of conservation, to protect the forests, and to address climate change.

The European Union is funding a new six year project: the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme. The project is aimed at preserving ecosystem services in Mount Elgon and the Cherangany Hills. A year ago, the Sengwer appealed to the EU to respect their rights to live in the forest.

Read more...

Read more...

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 violence is the latest of a series of evictions of the Sengwer by the Kenya Forest Service. The evictions have been carried out in the name of conservation.

While the EU has suspended funding, the Kenyan government has promised to “continue with eviction of illegal settlers in Embobut forest”. Marakwet East deputy commissioner Stephen Sangolo, in whose jurisdiction the Embobut forest lies, told The Star,

“Security officers will continue smoking out anyone who is in the forest illegally. We will ensure that we get rid of illegal loggers, land speculators and cattle rustlers.”

Read more...

Read more...Over the past decade, Kenya Forest Service guards have repeatedly evicted people living in the Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills. On 25 February 2015, guards torched more than 30 houses belonging to the Sengwer indigenous people and destroyed school books, clothes and cooking utensils.

Today, a three-day-long meeting is planned to start, hosted by the World Bank and the Kenyan Government, aimed at discussing positive ways forward. The Sengwer, then, are supposed to sit down to talk with the government whose agencies burned their houses last week.

On 27 February 2015, the Sengwer wrote to the World Bank and the Government of Kenya asking them to stop the evictions or cancel the meeting. The Sengwer called for an urgent meeting with the meeting organisers to ensure that the harassment stops permanently before the talks begin.

Read more...

Read more...

The World Bank is hosted a Colloquium on “Deepening Dialogue with Stakeholders in the Forest Sector in Kenya”, at the week of 6 March, 2015.

The Colloquium was organised following a series of violent evictions over many years of the indigenous Sengwer from their homes in the Embobut Forest in the Cherangany Hills.

Days before the Colloquium started, guards from the Kenya Forest Service torched 30 houses belonging to the Sengwer. Hardly a promising setting for the Colloquium.

On its website, the World Bank describes the Colloquium as “historic”. The Bank reports that,

The opening day was marked by frank and promising exchanges between nearly 300 leaders of the Sengwer, Ogiek, Yiaku, Aweer, Kaya, Masai, Samburu, Illchamus and Endorois communities and representatives of the national and county governments.

Read more...

By Dean Puckett - First published on redd-monitor

Read more...When Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank, visited Kenya earlier this month, he reportedly urged the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to sort out Kenya’s historical land injustices once and for all, specifically mentioning the plight of the “Sengwer of Cherangani Hills.” But despite the World Bank having ‘a word’ with its ‘client’, the plight of the Sengwer of Embobut forest has worsened dramatically. An indigenous community is being evicted from their ancestral land in the name of conservation.

I am currently filming a documentary about the Sengwer. As I write this I am sitting in a small town on the edge of Embobut forest. On Sunday 23rd November, I was heading up into Embobut from a settlement called Tangul which sits on the edge of the contested forest area.

Read more...