Photo: Elizabeth Ibrahim Ekaru
On January 5, PBI-Kenya tweeted: “We are shocked by the killing of Elizabeth Ibrahim Ekaru on Monday 3 January. We urge the government of #Kenya to conduct thorough investigations into her killing and to protect #HRDs #WHRDs.”
Ekaru, who was 47 years old, was a renowned gender and climate change activist, as well an advocate for the land rights of Indigenous women.
The Kenyan newspaper The Star reports: “Her killing while defending land rights, [the Defenders Coalition says], was a true testament to the risks and challenges women activists face while doing legitimate work.”
The article highlights: “They asked the Director of Criminal Investigations to take swift measures to solve the murder of Ekaru and to make public their status report within seven days, on January 11.”
The fuller statement from the Defenders Coalition also notes: “Her killing while defending land rights, is a true testimony of the risks, challenges, and attacks that Women Human Rights Defenders continue facing in the line of their work.”
It adds: “We are startled by the escalating attacks on women and more so WHRDs in Kenya. Defenders Coalition has documented alarming cases of femicide in the past few years pointing to a cavalier attitude towards women in the society.”
It cites the murder of woman human rights defender Joannah Stutchbury in July 2021 for protecting the Kiambu Forest, and the targeting of two women environmental activists for pursuing justice for the victims of environmental pollution in Owino Ohuru Slums in Mombasa.
The statement calls on the Office of the President “to give an update on the progress of the case Joannah Stutchbury murder and all femicide cases in Kenya as a sign of commitment to his word, upholding social justice and signify the seriousness of closing matters pertaining to crimes against environmental and land rights defenders in Kenya.”
For more: PBI-Kenya saddened and shocked by the murder of Kiambu forest and wetlands defender Joannah Stutchbury in Nairobi (July 20, 2021).