EU: Kenyan activist to challenge EU to respect Indigenous peoples’ rights

Media advisory

• Sengwer activist Elias Kimaiyo available for interview in Brussels

An activist from an Indigenous community in Kenya which has suffered forced evictions from their land in Embobut forest, is meeting with the European Institutions this week to seek to resolve issues which led to the EU halting funding for a climate change mitigation project after a Sengwer man was killed.

“While the EU did the right thing by suspending the WaTER project, Sengwer community activists continue to be intimidated and harassed. I am in Brussels to ensure that as this project moves forwards, our rights are fully respected, and our role as protectors of the environment is recognised,” said Elias Kimaiyo, Sengwer activist.

“The situation in Embobut forest will be a litmus test for the EU’s respect for Indigenous peoples’ rights in their development aid – and the EU’s support for human rights defenders who defend land and indigenous rights, at great risk to themselves.”

A water conservation and climate change mitigation project (WaTER) funded by the European Development Fund Sengwer Indigenous people who are being forcibly evicted from their homes in the Embobut forest.
However, after forced evictions of the Sengwer by the Kenyan Forestry Service and the killing of a Sengwer man, Robert Kirotich Kibor, earlier this year, the EU announced the suspension of funding for the project.
Elias Kimaiyo is coming to Brussels for meetings with EU and member state counterparts.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Adela Sandu on adela.sandu@amnesty.org, +32 (0)2 235 1385 or +32 (0)494 93 26 94

For more information, see this communiqué from the EU Delegation to Kenya explaining the suspension of the funding and Amnesty International’s press release for its May report on the Sengwer.