The Sengwer people (also known as Cherang’any) are an indigenous community who primarily live in the Embobut forest in the western highlands of Kenya and in scattered pockets across TransZoia, West Pokot and Elgeyo-Marakwet counties.
The Sengwer continues to be a marginalized community that is facing separate and significant threats to both its identity and ancestral lands in the present time.
By 1980, the pressures of population growth of forest dwelling communities in Kenya, among them the Sengwer, came against the governments desire and efforts to conserve the forests. A number of eviction attempts have been carried out since.
On 16 January 2018 Robert Kirotich , a herder was shot and killed and David Kipkosgei Kiptilkesi was injured by Kenya Forest Service officers. The Sengwer men were herding their cattle at the time. Both were unarmed. As of January 17, 2018, the European Union suspended its financial support for the Kenyan Government’s Water Towers Protection and Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Programme (WATER), as a result of ongoing abuses of the human rights of indigenous people in the conservation areas.
On 22 January 2018, a court in Eldoret issued an injunction requiring the government to stop the evictions until the Sengwer community’s case is heard on 27 February 2018.
In partnership with the Forest Peoples Programme (FPP), the Sengwer community has started working with TIMBY to facilitate their collection of evidence of violent evictions (including testimonials) and help maintain a long-term database to document the cyclic nature of these attacks. This data (scraped of identifying information) can then shared with concerned lawmakers, policymakers, investors, journalists, human rights organisations and the general public.