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:-