Rights group in pact with forest agency over evictions

Friday, October 16th, 2020 00:00 |
A man leaves the Mau Forest during the recent evictions. PD/FILE

Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) and Kenya Forest Services (KFS) have partnered to address cases of abuse of human rights during forest evictions.

Through the partnership funded by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), officers from the two organizations will be trained on humane ways of dealing with affected communities so as to shift from the past brutal evictions.

This came as the organisations admitted that some of the eviction exercises had been marred with cases of inhumane acts.

According to KNCHR chief executive Bernard Mogesa, they had developed a training manual targeting staff from both organisations and the affected communities.

He said that issues of human rights and community participation would be part of the training in a bid to move away from the inhumane eviction exercise.

Forest destruction

“We shall train the staff from Kenya Forest Services and the neighboring communities on respecting human rights so that we can achieve ten percent forest cover,” he said.

He noted that past experiences of violent evictions led to more cases of forest destruction and hence the move to train all parties involved.

“UNDP is providing financial and technical support in this programme and we are confident that forest evictions will be conducted differently in the coming days,” he said.

Senior Deputy Chief Conservator of Forest Peter Waweru said that a technical team had been formed to work with the human rights organisation so as to meet their goals.

He attributed some of the challenges facing forest conservation to pressure from neighbouring communities and hence the need for training.

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