Kenya: Human rights defenders supporting communities impacted by infrastructure projects harassed

A report by Human Rights Watch and National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders -Kenya says the Kenya police and military are harassing and intimidating environmental rights activists in Lamu county, coast region. This harassment is linked to their activism around the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor project (LAPSSET) and other infrastructure developments.  

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Report
18 December 2018

Full report

Author: Human Rights Watch & National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya

"They Just Want to Silence Us"

 

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Article
18 December 2018

Report on harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders opposing infrastructure projects

Author: Human Rights Watch

"Kenya: Harassment of Environmental Activists: Arrested, Interrogated, Detained"

 Kenyan police and the military are harassing and intimidating environmental rights activists in Lamu county, coast region, Human Rights Watch and the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya said in a report released today. The 69-page report, “‘They Just Want to Silence Us’: Abuses Against Environmental Activists at Kenya’s Coast Region,” describes the context for activism around The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport corridor project (LAPSSET) and associated development projects, and documents the obstacles activists face in speaking out publicly about their concerns. At least 35 activists campaigning against the region’s mega infrastructure and transport projects have faced threats, beatings, arbitrary arrests, and detentions.

“Kenyan authorities should focus on addressing the environmental and health concerns relating to the LAPSSET development project instead of harassing the activists who raise the issues,” said Otsieno Namwaya, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Silencing activists isn’t going to resolve the concerns over whether the government plans are going to harm the environment and the people living there.”

The project, the largest infrastructure project in East and Central Africa, envisions a 32-berth seaport in Lamu, three international airports, road and railway network, three resort cities, and other associated projects such as the coal-fired power plant, which is cosponsored by two private companies, Amu Power and Centum Investment Company. LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority, a state agency carrying out the project, has donated over 975 acres (394 hectares) of land for the construction of the Lamu coal fired power plant.

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