CJGEA aimed at mainstreaming a human rights based approach to environmental protection in communities affected by toxic chemicals and extractive industries in Kenya, drawing synergies of awareness on climate change, mitigation and carbon emissions.
The implementation of “tuna sauti” project has enabled us to penetrate and scrutinize the key processes and systems of government which are key for the realization of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. This is as enshrined in Article 42, 69 and 70 of the constitution of Kenya (2010) and other regional and international instruments.
2015 was a highlight in CJGEA work, the lobbying and advocacy efforts influenced a team of the senate committee on health and the national parliament coming to the ground in Owino uhuru. The ministry of health also came on board after our aggressive advocacy work by sending to Owino Uhuru a team of medical practitioners from CDC who conducted a prevalence study of children’s blood lead levels and environmental lead samples, to assist the state to concretely quantify the contribution of the lead smelter to children’s blood lead level.The report revealed that a significant percentage of the population proximate to the smelter had alarming blood lead levels above the PEL of WHO at 5µg/dl.
CJGEA in Owino Uhuru had a global effect which led to partnering with Oeko institute to conduct a study on the Used Lead-Acid Battery recycling in the rest communities of the country that hosted smelters. The project also focuses a future of developing sustainable methods of lead recovery as the demand of batteries rises with the world moves towards green energy consumption.
The deep link to the Kenya Study is: Deadly Business
The synthesis report: Lead Recycling
As CJGEA celebrates the achievement it still recognizes that Environmental Human Rights is a fairly new concept both In Kenya and Internationally. CJGEA is privileged to be among the pioneers of this concept. It remains Factual that there are close linkages between the environment and the enjoyment of human rights, that justify an integrated approach to environment and human rights. Extractive Industry in Kenya for instance, is a powerful method of growing the economy, however if the sector is mismanaged, and exploitation precedes carelessness, natural resource extraction is accompanied by corruption, inequality, human rights violations and irreparable environmental damage which poisons the sources of livelihoods of people for generations. This is best depicted in the case of the Owino Uhuru community.
If the environment is not protected the first casualty of the reparations becomes those that depend directly on the environment for livelihoods e.g. water, farmers, fishermen ETC. This essentially are CJGEA’s clientele base. There are three main dimensions of the interrelationship between human rights and environmental protection:-
(i) The environment as a prerequisite for the enjoyment of human rights (implying that human rights obligations of States should include the duty to ensure the level of environmental protection necessary to allow the full exercise of protected rights);
(ii) Certain human rights, especially access to information, participation in decisionmaking, and access to justice in environmental matters, as essential to good environmental decision-making (implying that human rights must be implemented in order to ensure environmental protection); and
(iii) The right to a safe, healthy and ecologically balanced environment as a human right in itself (this approach has been debated).
Moving forward CJGEA is committed to ensure that the journey to environment protection has just began I wish to urge our existing partners to continue journeying with us and welcome on board new partners that wish to make our communities access rights especially to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.