ITEM 7: Situation of minorities and indigenous communities in Africa;
Statement by Julius ole Silakan – IMPACT, Kenya
Distinguished commissioners, state delegates participants, ladies and gentlemen,
I speak on behalf of IMACT.
Madam chair. I wish to thank you for your charismatic leadership and tireless efforts in steering the commission activities.
The human rights situation among the pastoralists and indigenous communities in Kenya is pathetic and need immediate / urgent interventions by human rights organizations in Africa and globally .
Sedentarisation by the present governments and the past government regimes had further alienated the indigenous communities from exercising their human rights in Kenya.
Last year indigenous Il-Laikipiak maasai communities in search for pasture were ruthlessly tortured, arrested , women and girls raped by the police and the paramilitary police whilst they were called to restore order in what a section of the media called the “laikipia land invasion” of settler farms in Kenya.
This coincided with the end of the Anglo-maasai treaty of 1904-11 treaty between the Masaai tribes chiefs and the crown. The settler farms were curved from community land and given as present /gifts to the then British officer during the emergency period of struggle for independence in Kenya. The community was pushed further north to the bare, rocky and bare land that cannot sustain livestock production.
Madam chair, the indigenous Maasai depend on livestock for survival economy for survival and alienating them from this noble land is like committing suicide , as drought occur every five years without adequate measures to address the same.
In 2000 the community lost 75% of the livestock population to drought and the community became more poorer that it is now. It was like jumping from the frying pan into the fire. The police arrested community members, leaders and leaders regardless of their status in the community.
Available data madam chair indicates that 286 herdsmen were arrested without an option of fine imposed on them. 1 herdsman were killed and 4 others were shot with serious gun wounds.
6 chiefs were arrested and interdicted. 3 councilors were arrested for 11 days. Several homesteads were destroyed and goods of unknown value destroyed. Hundreds of livestock was confiscated and lost during the process, 5 women were raped including 2 school going girls.
The government completely refused to listen to the cry of the pastoralist for alternative options despite intervention by the some civil society organizations , maasai MP’s and religious leaders .
Similar incidences occurred in Mai -Mahiu in Central Rift Valley in Kenya , where 15 people were killed and several homesteads destroyed, in pasture related conflicts.
Madam chair the Govt. is on record of not protecting the pastoralists and indigenous communities a case of were over 650 women who allege to have been raped by the British military forces over a period of 30 years is good example. These heinous and barbaric acts were committed with the knowledge of the government machinery, yet nothing was done to stop it. Records both from the police and hospitals are clear indication that these rapes were reported to the government.
The women have so far lodged a claim with the British army for compensation. Still the government is silent on the issue, despite various demonstrations by the women.
Madam chair, this has left the women traumatized, families broken and mixed raced children borne out of the rapes.
We urge the government therefore to:-