freedom of expression, Taner Kilic
The Sengwer people in Kenya have a deep, spiritual bond with the beautiful and vast Embobut Forest. It’s their ancestral land where they have lived for centuries. But this Indigenous community of beekeepers and cattle herders is being violently evicted by the Kenyan government.
In the name of “conservation”, forest guards and police have burned an estimated 2,600 houses since 2012, making some 4,600 people homeless. In January 2018, one man was shot dead and another seriously injured. The violence is in direct violation of repeated court orders that should protect this Indigenous community.
Sengwer people are losing their homes, livelihoods and cultural identity. Some are now living outside the forest and have been left in crushing poverty. Women are often hit hardest, struggling on their own to care for families as some men stay in the forest or have abandoned their families.
The government says it wants to reduce deforestation, but there is no evidence that the Sengwer have damaged the forest. These Indigenous people should be recognized as the owners and natural custodians of the Embobut Forest, as their livelihoods, identity and spirituality rely on it. They are determined to resist. Let’s stand with them today.
Tell Kenya to let the Sengwer people live on their land in peace.
Like so many, Atena Daemi dreams of an end to the death penalty in Iran. She’s written Facebook and Twitter posts criticizing the country’s execution record. She’s handed out leaflets. And she’s taken part in a peaceful protest against the execution of a young woman. Simple actions which sadly, in Iran, take great courage.
Incredibly, these activities have been cited as evidence of her criminal activity and now she’s been sentenced to seven years in jail. Her trial was a sham – it took just 15 minutes and she was convicted on trumped-up charges, including gathering and colluding to commit crimes against national security.
Her cruel treatment is one more bitter example of the intense crackdown on people who speak out for a fairer Iran. Dozens have been imprisoned, and many others face surveillance, interrogations and drawn-out prosecutions, forcing them into silence.
Atena has suffered so much already. She’s been beaten, pepper sprayed and forced into solitary confinement, but she continues to fight for human rights. Earlier this year, she went on hunger strike to protest her transfer to a notorious prison. Her health has deteriorated alarmingly while in prison. She must be released immediately.
Tell Iran: Atena Daemi must go free.