Thousands of homes belonging to hunter-gatherer Sengwer people living in the Embobut forest in the Cherangani hills were burned down earlier this year by Kenya forest service guards who had been ordered to clear the forest as part of a carbon offset project that aimed to reduce emissions from deforestation.
The evictions were condemned in February by the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and the UN committee on the elimination of racial discrimination, and drew in the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, who expressed alarm at what was described by 360 national and international civil society organisations and individuals as “cultural genocide”.
Following a request by the Sengwer to assess the impact of the bank’s funding of the project, the bank’s inspection panel decided in May that it had violated safeguards in several areas. On Tuesday 30/9/14 the World Bank board met in Washington under the chairmanship of President Kim to decide on the bank’s response to the inspection panel report.
The Panel found that evictions were not supported as part of the NRMP. It noted that more attention should have been given from the outset to better identify and mitigate the risk that evictions might occur and that the correct application of the safeguard policies may have prevented or mitigated these harms. The Panel also found an inadequate institutional analysis of KFS.
The Sengwer forest indigenous community have responded to the World Bank decision by writing a letter to President Kenyatta. Please see the documents attached.
Article by John Vidal, the Guardian, Monday 29 September 2014 - "World Bank accuses itself of failing to protect Kenya forest dwellers"
Article by John Vidal, the Guardian, Monday 29 September 2014 - "World Bank chief steps in over evictions of Kenya’s indigenous people"