Environmental issues and human rights go hand in hand in Kenya. Droughts have been a serious problem in Kenya. When a drought occurs it is obvious that the people lack access to basic things like water and food. It is impossible without these basic things; this deprives Kenyans of their basic right to life. These people cannot live without these necessities. In addition, droughts cause problems with agriculture, which is an important industry. The animals and plants cannot survive without water. This is hurting the people of Kenya. They cannot move up in society when it is becoming more difficult to succeed in their industries. The people’s human rights depend on the environment. It is not fair for people from other countries who do not depend on the environment to take it away from them.
There are also conflicts between the two issues. Deforestation occurs so that there can be more land for farmers, which will help the people of Kenya have more land to farm on and therefore more food. However, the deforestation is negative for the environment. The people are coming to the point where they need to choose between the environment in the long-term and their livelihood in the short-term.
Outside of climate change issues, Kenyans have enough to worry about with their human rights. The country faces a security crisis in their justice system. Officers have been known for torture, arbitrary detentions, and extrajudicial killings. There seems to be no retribution for this abuse of power in the country. The Kenyan government is working to fix this, but the progress has been slow. This has specifically been an issue with Somalian people. Officers have abused their power and took action against people they thought were terrorists when there actually has been no proof.
In addition, not much has been done since the unrest that took place after the 2007/2008 political election. People are still looking for retribution from the violence that occurred after the election. People are also speaking out about LGBTQ laws. There are currently laws the criminalize same-sex relationships/actions. They can land you in jail for 14 years. However, this is a controversial topic. Some argue that they would like to see life imprisonment. People of the LGBTQ community live in fear and advocate for a change.
Farish Noor talks in his book Dealing With Human Rights about the dangers of eurocentrism. He defines this as, “the emerging perception within the European cultural, historical experience of European identity as good and all other forms as less good or less advanced.” One of his main points is that people believe that the rest of the world should be and wants to be like the western world just because they are aware of the western world. This is not true.
I believe that other’s knowledge of European culture just shows that the rest of the world is more cultured and globalized. This reminds me of when Kenya was a British colony. The British may have thought the Kenyans wanted to have similar government, culture, and policy to their own country. However, the Kenyans broke free from their rule and have established their own way of life. In the future when we are trying to help Kenyans with their environmental and human rights issues, it is important to remember that we cannot always solve their issues the same way we solve ours.