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Wendy Mutegi

Atiriri Bururu Ma Chuka - Law and Development Trust

Testimony by Wendy Mutegi at the 2015 Dublin Platform

Though shattered, traumatised and in pain, fear and panic, I am encouraged by one thing. My assailants left me alive, and now I have an opportunity to recount my experience, though keeping the names and places secret for my security.

Wendy chairs the Law and Social Development Trust (LASODET), an organisation dedicated to the defence of indigenous and environmental rights in Kenya. Since 2010, LASODET has partnered with Atiriri Bururi ma Chuka Trust, a community group with 3,000 members from Chuka (Tharaka Nithi County, Eastern Kenya) to reclaim the rights of the Chuka community to Chuka forest (a section of Mount Kenya forest) and to fight against illegal logging activities that have reportedly caused substantial degradation of the forest. Due to her involvement with such cases, Wendy has been threatened to harm her if she does not halt her advocacy work on behalf of an indigenous community in Eastern Kenya.

While Kenya maintains the appearance of a country where the public space is open, specific categories of human rights defenders encounter a wide range of risks as a result of their work. These include human rights defenders and journalists working on highly sensitive corruption issues, those who document or contribute testimony on past violence (including the 2007/2008 post election violence and frequent extra-judicial killings by the police) as well as those using peaceful demonstrations as an advocacy tool.