By Sharon Atieno

Environmentalists, conservationists and civil society organizations have called for a thorough investigation into the murder of Joannah Stutchbury, a Kenyan environment activist.

Stutchbury, 67, was killed by unknown assailants outside her home on Thursday, 15th July,2021. She was involved in a campaign to save the nearby Kiambu Forest from encroachment by squatters and other land grabbers.

Stutchbury protesting a construction in a forest
Credits: Twitter

“We are alarmed at the rate at which human rights activists, environmentalists, and conservationists are threatened, harassed and killed each day in Kenya and worldwide. At the same time, the perpetrators continue to scour the country free from any repercussions,” they said in a statement.

“For this reason, we, as organizations from all parts of the country, the African region, and the world, condemn this senseless killing and call for justice for Joannah and all the other environmental and human rights activists who have lost their lives while defending the integrity of our environment and natural heritage. These fierce and courageous defenders have met their untimely death while trying to leave behind a better world for the next generation, for being the voices and guardians of the trees in the forests that give us the oxygen that we breathe and the wildlife that attracts billions of shillings as foreign currency from the tourists that visit this nation.”

Crimes against the environment are the fourth largest criminal enterprises being beaten only by drugs, counterfeiting, and human trafficking. Environmental crimes rank higher than the sales of illegal arms. As a result, environmental protectors have been threatened and some have lost their lives such as ivory investigator Esmond Bradley Martin, Esther Mwikali, Sengwer Robert Kiprotich, while others have been forced into hiding such as Phyllis Omido and others.