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IPEN Letter in Support of CJGEA
Attention Mr. Ndegwa Muhoro, Director, Directorate of Criminal Investigations, Nairobi, Kenya
Dear Mr. Muhoro:
We are writing this public letter today representing IPEN, a global network of more than 500 public interest non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in 116 countries to strengthen and implement safe chemicals policies and practices that protect health, human rights, and the environment. We are gravely concerned about the safety of our friends and colleagues in Kenya who are members of the Centre for Justice, Governance and Environmental Action (CJGEA).
We are aware that following the legal service notices on the 2nd of February 2017 to Metal Refinery EPZ Ltd. for the Owino Uhuru Class Action Litigation Case, CJGEA members have been ruthlessly threatened and harassed. They are living in fear for their lives. Due to threats to their security, they cannot stay in their homes and have had to relocate.
Ms. Phyllis Omido, an internationally recognized human rights and environmental advocate and a Goldman Environmental Prize Recipient of 2015, as well as her family, and members of CJGEA, have had to flee their homes because their safety is at risk. Mzee Ogola Owino Uhuru, a village elder, barely escaped his life after his home was almost burnt down. He had to flee with his family at night and slept at the police station. Miss Anastacia Nambo has also been threatened and is living in fear. She has not been able to sleep at her house for almost a week. Mr. Kamencu, another member of CJGEA, was attacked and is also living in fear.
Mr. Muhoro, we urge you to do everything in your power to investigate and stop this criminal harassment and to ensure the safety and protection of CJGEA members and people in the village. People should not live in fear in their motherland. According to the 2016 Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Environmental Human Rights Defenders: "Upholding human rights for environmental human rights defenders is essential to the protection of the environment and environmental rights, and is grounded in international human rights standards. Environmental human rights defenders cannot properly defend the environment-related rights, without exercising their own rights to access to information, freedom of expression, of peaceful assembly and association, guarantees of non-discrimination, and participation in decision-making. States have the duty to protect those rights as well as their rights to defending human rights and to life, liberty, and security."
Mr. Muhoro, you are in the best position to help people redress the injustice in Kenya. The international community is closely watching the situation in Kenya and believes in your ability to protect human rights in your country. We respectfully request that you acknowledge receipt of this letter and inform us about the measures that you and other authorities in Kenya are taking to protect the CJGEA members and their families. Thank you.
Dr. Olga Speranskaya and Pamela Miller, IPEN Co-Chairs
cc Mr. Baskut Tuncat, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics
The Goldman Environmental Prize of the Goldman Fund, U.S.A.
To see the list of signatories, please click here
Please see a press statement from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment here