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Forced eviction kills child; 3,000 left homeless

Kumi visit- Meeting with thought leaders, Kenya
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The Nubian Community has experienced historical injustices linked to statelessness and land ownership. They were first settled by the British colonial government near Kisumu airport but later, after the expansion of the airport, they resettled in Kibos in 1938 and have been living there ever since. The ownership of Kibos has been challenged repeatedly, with Kenya Railways claiming ownership of the land and threatening to evict the community. The community successfully filed a petition under a Certificate of Urgency to seek a conservatory order preventing Kenya Railways from evicting them until ownership is ascertained in Environment and Land Court (ELC). The Conservatory Order was served to the Kenya Railways and County Commissioner (who tore it up) on 5 February, at 4:15 pm. At 5pm, the County Commissioner started marking Kibos homes with Xs. At 9pm the Kenya Power and Lightening Company cut off the main power to the whole settlement. By 10.30pm, police officers descended on the community, firing teargas into the homes of over 3,500 and a 83 year-old mosque. Excavators and other heavy equipment were used to bring down homes, the mosque and two nursery schools. As the authorities proceeded to demolish buildings,  a child was crushed to her death while her mother cried for time to remove her from the house.

The County Commissioner oversaw the demolition of all buildings. Barely five days later, on 10 February, the Environment and Land Court of Kisumu summoned the Kenya Railways Corporation to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for ignoring the conservatory orders and for failing to appear in court. In a hearing held on 11 February, the Court upheld the status quo of the conservatory orders and granted the community rentry orders.

The forced evictions in Kibos were conducted less than a month after the Supreme Court of Kenya, on 11 January, made a definitive judgment  on the right to housing. The landmark judgement states, under section 153, that, ”The right to housing in its base form (shelter) need not be predicated upon “title to land”. Indeed, it is the inability of many citizens to acquire private title to land, that condemns them to the indignity of “informal settlements”. Where the Government fails to provide accessible and adequate housing to all the people, the very least it must do, is to protect the rights and dignity of those in the informal settlements. The Courts are there to ensure that such protection is realized, otherwise these citizens, must forever, wander the corners of their country, in the grim reality of “the wretched of the earth”.

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Forced eviction leaves 3000 people homeless

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On 11 May, five days after the Kariobangi forced evictions, the President of Kenya, through the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Co-ordination of National Government, announced that “until the country is done with the COVID-19 pandemic challenges, no evictions should take place”.  He also announced that the police had been instructed to cease all evictions and that police officers were required to confirm court orders on evictions through the Office of the Attorney General.

The Dagoretti Corner settlement forced eviction on 1 October was carried out to reclaim the parcel of land said to belong to the Kenya Railways Corporation. The Kenya Power & Lighting Company also demolished houses that were built along a power line. Most of the residents were away at work during the demolition and had no time to salvage their belongings. We have been informed that the residents have lived there for more than 25 years. The action of demolition of the residential dwellings, considering the prevailing circumstances, not only increases their vulnerability to COVID-19 but is also a gross violation of human rights including the right to adequate housing enshrined in the Constitution of Kenya and in the international human rights treaties ratified by the state. We call upon all stakeholders to act in cognizance of the need to safeguard the human rights and health of all.

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Kenya: arrest of Amnesty Kenya's chairperson is an 'attack on human rights defenders'

© Amnesty International Kenya

Renee Ngamau was arrested in her home yesterday evening for rallying neighbours to oppose a private development on a public playground Police didn’t show at her court hearing today ‘We call on the authorities to drop any charges’ - Irungu Houghton The Kenyan authorities must drop charges against Amnesty International Kenya’s Chairperson, Renee Ngamau, Amnesty International said, following her arrest yesterday evening. Ngamau - who is also the chairperson of her Jamhuri Phase 1 neighbourhood in Nairobi - was arrested yesterday (14 September) for rallying her neighbours to peacefully oppose a

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Evicted residents vulnerable to Covid-19

Nairobi skyline
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Since 1996, residents from Kariobangi Sewerage Farmers Slum have been paying the Nairobi County Government land rates and have title deeds that establish their ownership of the land that they are living on. The residents have records of their land tax payments in the form of receipts dating back to 1996. In April 2019, the residents were issued with a notice of eviction letter by the Cabinet Secretary of Lands and the Nairobi County government. Following this, there was no further information from the government about the eviction, compensation or resettlement.

In response to the verbal orders to vacate, on 3 May 2020, the Environment and Lands Court certified the case filed by Kariobangi Sewerage Farmers Self Group as urgent and scheduled a hearing on Thursday 7 May 2020. The court also issued an interim order to halt the evictions until the matter was heard on 7 May.

The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Ltd carried out the forced evictions in a bid to reclaim the land from the residents. They were accompanied by the Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), the area chief and administrative police. The Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Ltd (NCWSC) was incorporated in December 2003 under the Companies Act cap 486 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nairobi City County. 

The right to adequate housing has been entrenched as a justiciable right in the Constitution of Kenya. Article 43(1)(b), provides that ‘every person has the right to accessible and adequate housing and reasonable standards of sanitation’. Kenya is obliged under a range of human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to refrain from and prevent forced evictions. The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has emphasized that evictions may be carried out only as a last resort, once all feasible alternatives have been explored and only after appropriate procedural and legal safeguards are in place.

These include genuine consultation with the people affected, adequate and reasonable notice, adequate alternative housing and compensation for all losses, safeguards on how evictions are carried out, and access to legal remedies and procedures, including access to legal aid where necessary. Governments are required to ensure that no one is rendered homeless or vulnerable to other human rights violations as a consequence of an eviction. International human rights standards also state that even where evictions are deemed to be justified, states must ensure that they put in place all safeguards and due process requirements.

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Urgent Action update: Over two thousand people risk forced eviction

The Deep Sea Community in Nairobi, Kenya is once again at imminent risk of forced evictions.

1st update on UA 141/18 issued 06/02/2019

Kenya: Nairobi hotel attack must be effectively investigated

Responding to the attack on the Dusit D2 hotel complex in Nairobi yesterday, Irungu Houghton, Executive Director of Amnesty International Kenya, said: “According to media reports, the insurgent group al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the attacks. If the intention of the attackers is to intimidate and create fear among Kenyans, this will have the opposite result. “Kenyans shall rally as they have done in the past to protect their constitutional rights and their freedoms. We urge the security agencies to promptly and effectively arrest, investigate and bring to trial all responsible. “We

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Write for Rights 2018: Sengwer people case resources

Sengwer people case study sheet and address labels

Sengwer people appeal resources

Urgent Action: Thousands of residents’ risk forced eviction in Kenya

Approximately 3,000 residents of the Deep Sea informal settlement in Nairobi are at imminent risk of forced eviction.

UA 141/18 issued 25/07/2018

Urgent Action Update: New threats against indigenous community in Kenya

The Sengwer Indigenous community are facing new threats of eviction

1st Update on UA 6/18 issued 14/02/2018

Urgent Action update: Two men still missing one year later in South Sudan

Dong Samuel Luak and Aggrey Idri, who were disappeared a year ago are still missing.

2nd update on UA 29/17 issued 22/01/2018
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