Ruto Government Sparks International Condemnation After Evicting Whole Community

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Ruto Government Sparks International Condemnation After Evicting Whole Community

The international community has criticized the Kenyan government for displacing the native Ogiek Community residing within the Mau Forest.

During a Saturday interview on DW, Otsieno Namwaya, the East Africa Director of Human Rights Watch, highlighted that the government has consistently disregarded court decisions opposing these evictions, as evidenced by previous rulings.

“The government hasn’t even responded in any meaningful way and has not stopped evictions from going on or showed any signs that they are planning to compensate the evictees,” Otsieno stated.

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The removal was implemented in response to President William Ruto’s order, instructing all individuals living within the forest to vacate the area.

“Those still in the forest should vacate as soon as possible because we will put up a fence, and that is not a request,” the president had stated in November.

Ruto’s directive coincided with a decision from the African Court on Human and People’s Rights, which granted reparations to the Ogiek community for the injustices and discrimination they endured.

In a July ruling praised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Francisco Cali Tzay, the Court mandated the Kenyan government to pay Ksh 57,850,000 for tangible losses related to property and natural resources, and Ksh 100 million for the intangible losses suffered by the community, encompassing violations of the right to non-discrimination, religion, culture, and development.

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During the evictions, members of the Ogiek Community have expressed grievances about mistreatment, including allegations of property destruction by rangers from the Kenya Forest Service.

“All my kin are buried here. There is nowhere else that I know of where my grandmother and my great-grandmother were buried. Where else will I go? I grew up being told this is my home,” Ngusilo, a member of the Ogiek Community, lamented.

Lucy Claridge, a human rights lawyer and Director of the International Lawyers Project, shared on the same platform that the eviction action could be linked to international carbon markets established during climate change summits.

“We also know that there is a lot of interest from those who are engaging in carbon trading in Kenya, that is Kenya’s forests and other assets,” she stated.

Amnesty International, Survival International, and Minority Rights Group International, in a collective statement, conveyed their apprehensions regarding the evictions and urged for an immediate suspension.

“The signatory organisations call on the government of Kenya to immediately cease all evictions in the Mau Forest, as they violate Kenyan law, as well as the judgments of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights in the Ogiek case,” the statement read in part.

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Ruto Government Sparks International Condemnation After Evicting Whole Community

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