The Sengwer Indigenous people of Embobut Forest, Kenya are being forced from their homes and dispossessed of their ancestral lands by the grossly flawed, illegal and violent actions of the Kenyan government, Amnesty International said in a new report launched today.

“The Sengwer people were never genuinely consulted nor was their free and informed consent ever obtained prior to their eviction. This is a flagrant violation of Kenyan and international law,” said Amnesty International Kenya’s Executive Director, Irungu Houghton.

The report reveals that widespread, sometimes deadly force, has been used against the Sengwer people, and highlights significant flaws in the decision making process that has been used to justify the forced evictions.

Last month, a government task force on conserving forests by ejecting forest communities concluded that the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) colluded in extensive illegal logging and destruction of the Embobut Forest, for which the Sengwer are being blamed, and persecuted. Despite this finding, the task force recommended the continued indiscriminate eviction of communities living in endangered forests, including the Sengwer in Embobut.

The situation has torn many Sengwer families apart, as one parent often remains in the forest to safeguard their ancestral heritage, while the other lives with the children, often in deplorable conditions, outside the forest for safety.

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