Africa: Kenyan Forest People Face Imminent Eviction Threat - Rights Group

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The Elgeyo Marakwet County Commissioner, Arthur Osiya - who last month told those families to leave by Jan. 3 - was quoted by Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper on Tuesday as saying there would be no extension of the eviction order, as called for by local politicians and the affected people themselves.

Although an injunction has been served, it may not stop the Kenyan police trying to remove families from the land, the FPP's Kenrick said, warning that the situation could flare up early next week.

The government often refers to the communities living in or near the forest as "squatters". The FPP says the majority are indigenous people who have a right to stay, while others have moved into Embobut after losing their homes in landslides or electoral violence.

"The government is responsible for securing the safety, homes, livelihoods and human rights of these already displaced vulnerable victims as well. This requires much more than giving them a small amount of money and blaming them for not surviving on it," the rights organisation said.

The FPP urged the government to sit down with forest inhabitants and work out who wants to stay and who is willing to leave, and on what terms.

"The indigeous people (of the area) are clear about their willingness to give up activities that cause destruction of forests if they are allowed secure forest tenure," Kenrick said.

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