Kenyan authorities allegedly harass opponents of coal plant

A new report says Kenyan authorities have harassed and abused environmental activists protesting the development of a new coal plant. The Human Rights Watch and National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders report, titled “They Just Want to Silence Us” details harassment and abuses against Kenyan environmental activists who have campaigned against a proposed coal plant in Lamu County, in Kenya’s Coast region.

Otsieno Namwaya, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said they speak up, but then “after they speak up they either face threats, sometimes anonymous threats on phone.” “Sometimes there is in-person threats from people they identify as police officers,” added Namwaya, “but they have also been arrested, detained, they have been interrogated.”

The proposed plant, estimated to cost $2 billion, is waiting for the green light from Kenya’s environmental court. It will be constructed by a Chinese company — China Power Global. Kenyan officials insist the plant will help meet the country’s growing demand for electric power. Kenya’s environmental agency has accepted the plans, saying all environmental concerns were considered.

Source: Voice of America

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