April 23, 2018

Kenya’s Development Project Disregards Human Rights

By Khalifa Hemed
Published January 19, 2018

UN experts say say indigenous Sengwer people in western Kenya have been attacked and forcibly evicted from their homes as a result of the implementation of the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (WATER) project, a €31 million water management project funded by the European Union. Kenya should respect the rights of indigenous people as it implements a development project funded by the European Union.

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Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Michel Forst and John H Knox who are working for the Office of the High Commissioner of the United Nations say indigenous Sengwer people in western Kenya have been attacked and forcibly evicted from their homes as a result of the implementation of the Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation (WATER) project, a €31 million water management project funded by the European Union.

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“We are concerned that the project is being undertaken without a human rights impact assessment,” the experts say. “Consultations have not been held with the Sengwer to seek their free, prior and informed consent.”Urging the European Union to suspend funding for the project ‘until measures have been taken to uphold international standards on indigenous peoples’ rights the UN Special Rapporteurs appeal to Kenya ‘to urgently halt the evictions of the Sengwer community’.

“We are concerned that the project is being undertaken without a human rights impact assessment,” the experts say. “Consultations have not been held with the Sengwer to seek their free, prior and informed consent.”

The project was launched in June 2016.

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