An Overview of NCHRD-K’s Report on the Effects of Evictions to Women Human Rights Defenders and Women Rights
Margaret Chesir was born in Embobut forest and for over 50 years has known no other home. She is a member of the indigenous Sengwer community, often evicted by the government in a bid to conserve the forest. An agonised Chesir was evicted in 2014, and since then, she has been in and out of the forest, struggling to get back to the hunter-gatherer life that defines her community.
“Life outside the forest is unbearable and we often return to the forest as soon as security agencies burn down our structures,” Chesir told the Star, holding back tears.Chesir and other women grew up in an environment where colobus monkeys chattered, jackals howled and crickets chirped. They are fond of natural fruits and vegetables found in Embobut and nearby forests.
“We don’t cut down trees because we live inside thick forests, and we rely on the forest for food and medicines,” she says.Other communities listed as indigenous include Boni (Bajuni), El Molo, Malakote, Ogiek, Sanya, Waata, Wagoshi and Yaaku.But as the world commemorated the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9, Chesir and company were wondering what their future holds.
LEFT BY HUSBANDS
Mary Komen, a Sengwer community women leader, says the community is now joining the list of internally displaced Kenyans after a series of evictions. The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders Kenya recently conducted a research titled “Race against eviction. The plight of Sengwer women and human rights defenders in Embobut forest”.
The NCHRD-K report, launched in Iten, shows a community that has lost its traditions and language during successive evictions. According to the report, Sengwer were forcibly evicted every year since 2007. The community has lived in Embobut forest since the 1890s, and they were given permits by the British colonial government to stay in three glades, including Kapkok, Kaptirbai and Koropken. Its members also occupy parts of West Pokot and Trans Nzoia and consist of 21 clans. The 2009 census put the Sengwer community population at 33,187.
The NCHRD-K further established that the evictions depressed the community, while frequent displacements and disruption of livelihoods have denied the community’s children the right to education. Early marriages and disintegration of Sengwer family units have also been threatened by the evictions. NCHRD-K executive director Kamau Ngugi said researchers spoke to women of the indigenous deep inside the forest.
“The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights had previously conducted a study on human rights violations. We found out that women’s views were not put into account, and that is why we decided to look into the situation of women inside the forest,” Ngugi said.
It was also discovered during the study that Sengwer women were abandoned by their husbands after forest dwellers received Sh400,000 each as payout to move out of the forest. “Men left their wives and married younger women from the neighbouring Marakwet community, and squandered the money meant for buying alternative land,” the interim report reads in part.
Article done by Stephen Rutto, Star Newspaper. Read the entire article here: https://www.the-star.co.ke/news/2018/09/11/big-read-sengwer-women-weve-lost-our-dignity-rights-violated-in_c1807215
In this section, you can access the different parts of our guide for policy engagement on data protection “The Keys to Data Protection”. The guide is intended to help organisations and individuals improve their understanding of data protection, by providing a framework to analyse the various provisions which are commonly presented in a data protection law.
The guide was developed from Privacy International’s experience and expertise on international principles and standards applicable to the protection of privacy and personal data, and our leadership and research on modern technologies and data processing.
Part 1 introduces data protection: what it is, how it works and why it is essential for the exercise of the right to privacy.
While data protection laws vary from country to country, there are some commonalities and minimum requirements, underpinned by data protection principles and standards which tend to be reflected in the structure and content of relevant legislation. Each part of the report presents these, including:
Part 8 provides some additional resources on data protection, and outlines opportunities for organisations to engage on data protection.
Much of our engagement on data protection for the last decade has been undertaken through our work with our partners in the Privacy International Network. We would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge their incredible efforts to promote and advocate for the adoption of data protection laws across the world.
Please reach out to Privacy Internation on email if you have any feedback on the guide via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Human Rights
The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights is seeking an experienced staff attorney to help lead its work on TrialWatch, an international trial monitoring program established by the Clooney Foundation for Justice which the ABA will be assisting in implementing.
The TrialWatch initiative seeks to expand the use of trial monitoring by training and facilitating the deployment of a new cadre of trained trial monitors, including non-lawyers. These monitors will assess the fairness of proceedings under international standards and, working with human rights experts, help prepare Fairness Reports on their findings. These Fairness Reports will then form the basis for a range of advocacy efforts and ultimately will be used to develop a Justice Index that ranks countries on their performance. The initiative will use innovative technology to take a data-driven approach to trial monitoring and engage in comparative analysis to facilitate reforms of the administration of justice around the world.
Read more on the job and application process here: https://www5.recruitingcenter.net/Clients/abanet/PublicJobs/Intranet/controller.cfm?jbaction=JobProfile&Job_Id=12201&esid=az
THEME: Enhancing The Role Of HRDs in Governance and Encouraging Constant Dialogue for Complementary and Effective Relationships
In Kenya, activism increasingly combines informal networks and formal organizations to some effect, and these activists have in general distanced themselves from the political opposition and views creating a non- cordial working relationship between HRDs and duty bearers.
The work of HRDs is well anchored in international law through the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights further recognizes the critical role of HRDs and calls for their protection by respective states. Chapter 4 of the Kenyan Constitution 2010 has the Bill of Rights which calls for protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. However, the same is not anchored in national legislation. There are however existence of provisions in substantive legislation that threaten the exercise of constitutionally guaranteed rights which HRDs fall victim to.
NCHRD-K has observed increased intolerance of human rights defenders’’ work. HRDs are faced with personal threats, physical attacks and killings because of highlighting issues of public concern and violations. They are further faced with legal challenges as their work is criminalized. In the past years, several HRDs have been charged under laws that criminalize the right to peaceful assembly like rioting after proclamation, incitement to cause violence, resisting arrest and unlawful assembly.
HRDs working on critical but sensitive issues like countering violence extreme have been physically targeted and faced with arbitrary arrest, detention and even torture. This cuts across the country where HRDs are arrested and charged for unlawful assembly, slapped with punitive bail and bond terms. Other HRDs like journalists and bloggers have faced libel suits and criminal charges that include undermining the authority of a public officer among others.
NCHRD-K has further documented legislative and administrative challenges that limit the civic space within which HRDs and CSOs are able to carry out their human rights work.
It is on this basis that NCHRD-K will facilitate dialogue between the HRDs, service providers, media and the duty bearers in various counties. This will include members of judiciary, county government officials and national police service to create awareness of the existence of HRDs in the county and their critical role in the promotion and protection of human rights and good governance, foster political will for HRDs in governance, and encourage constant dialogue for a complementary and effective relationship.