On 5 February, at 10:30pm, 3,500 residents of Kibos, Kisumu County, Kenya, were brutally evicted by the Kenya Railways Corporation. Armed police used tear gas to force residents out of their homes. As a bulldozer brought down their homes, one child was trapped under debris and killed. The residents, belonging to the Nubian community, claim that no written eviction notice was issued. This unlawful act was done in violation of the Presidential moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I
Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Interior
Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Security
P.O Box 30510- 00100, Nairobi
Email: [email protected]
Dear Honorable Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’I,
I am deeply concerned by the brutal evictions carried out by Kenya Railways Corporation on 5 February in Kibos, a Nubian settlement in Kisumu. The forced eviction led to the death of a child and has rendered more than 3,500 persons homeless. At 10:30 pm, armed police violently forced families from their homes and fired tear gas causing utter confusion and panic. As the authorities proceeded to demolish buildings, a child was crushed to death. Those displaced are now camping in inhumane conditions on a swampy field with tents as their only form of shelter in heavy rains. This forced eviction not only compromises their health due to possible exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses, it also destroys their livelihoods and constitutes a violation of human rights including the right to adequate housing. No written notice was issued before the eviction. The demolition of homes and places of worship was carried out with utter disregard for the presidential moratorium on evictions during the COVID-19 pandemic issued on 11 May 2020.
The Nubian community in Kenya has been struggling with the recognition of land ownership for decades. Since their resettlement in Kibos in 1938, there has been no attempt by the state to guarantee them security of tenure. The Nubians have built their places of worship and schools, and they have called Kibos home for 83 years.
I call on you to carry out an impartial and independent investigation and hold to account all those responsible, including those responsible for the forced evictions, death of the child, excessive use of force, and disregard for court orders; take urgent and concrete steps to ensure that all those affected by the forced eviction in Kibos have access to effective remedy including adequate alternative housing, compensation, restitution and guarantees of non-repetition; and suspend any planned evictions by Kenya Railways until new eviction and resettlement guidelines in line with international human right standards are in place for State Agencies mandated to deliver infrastructure upgrading that may displace communities.