(Bagnolet, January 20, 2022) La Via Campesina – an international movement that brings together millions of peasants, small and medium farmers, landless, rural youth and women, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from all over the world condemns the recent murder of Elizabeth Ibrahim Ekaru, a Kenyan environmentalist and activist.
Elizabeth Ibrahim Ekaru, a 47 year old mother of five and a defender of women’s rights, as well as environmental and land rights in Kenya was stabbed to death on Monday 3 January 2022 over a land dispute. She has over the years worked tirelessly to defend the right to land of indigenous women in Kenya. This killing continues to expose the ever-increasing threat that many human right activists and community defenders, especially women face not only in Africa but globally. On 15 July 2021, another woman human rights defender Joannah Stutchbury, a renowned conservationist, was brutally murdered in Kiambu County, Kenya. Joannah opposed attempts by powerful local businessmen to build on the nearby Kiambu forest, and had received death threats in the past.
Under the cover of COVID restrictions, many killings of defenders of community rights, women’s rights and land rights have gone unnoticed, a few received limited media coverage. Rights defenders, particularly the women face risks of being attacked and even murdered for standing up against the human and environmental injustices. What is sad and worrying is that most of these murder cases the perpetrators always evade and escape justice.
Our member in Kenya, the Kenyan Peasants League (KPL) also expressed concern on the increased cases of violence and femicide on women and young girls in Kenya. In December 2021, seven young people were killed in Kangemi area by a policeman who later committed suicide. KPL are working closely with independent policing oversight Authority (IPOA) and other partners to ensure that justice is served to the families of the bereaved.
We stand in solidarity with the communities and organisations to demand justice for Elizabeth Ibrahim Ekaru and other women and men murdered for defending human and environmental rights in Kenya. We also call for an end in femicide and gender-based violence. We call on the Kenyan government to bring to justice the perpetrators and protect the defenders of human and environmental rights in Kenya.
We express our deepest condolences to Ekaru’s family.
Image: Twitter : Amnesty Kenya