The Indigenous community of Sengwer People in Kenya are being violently evicted by the government.
The Sengwer have lived in the Embobut forest of the North Rift Valley since at least the 19th century. They want the government to recognize their land rights and work with them to protect the forest.
Since 2012, attacks on the community have left nearly 5,000 people homeless. The latest round of forced evictions began on December 25, 2017 when Forest Service officers burned 341 homes, killed one Sengwer man, and sent another to hospital with gunshot wounds.
The government claims that the Sengwer must vacate the forest to make way for a conservation project funded by the EU. It's intended to mitigate climate change and conserve the forest but there is no evidence the Sengwer have been damaging it. On the contrary, Sengwer man Elias states "We have been caring, preserving and protecting the fauna and flora for centuries."
These evictions mean that Sengwer people living outside the forest now have to contend with poverty, community dispersion, spearation from cultural and spiritual practices in the forest and many fear it will lead to the disappearance of Sengwer culture. Further, the government distributed some compensation after evictions, mostly to men, leaving women struggling financially.
Tell the Kenyan president to stop the house burnings and arrests, and remove all restrictions to the Sengwer people living in peace on their ancestral land.