The African Court on Human and People’s Rights (AfCHPR) unanimously ruled in favor of the Ogiek People and rejected Kenya’s government objections and ordered the government to title Ogiek ancestral lands in Mau Forest. This follows an application filed by the indigenous minority group 5 years ago (May 2017) where the court ruled that;
- The Ogiek are an indigenous community of Kenya.
- The Ogiek are the ancestral owners of the Mau Forest, since time immemorial.
- The Ogiek accordingly have a right of occupation and use of the Mau.
- The need to conserve the Mau Forest does not justify the Ogiek’s eviction.
- There was no evidence that the Ogiek have been responsible for the destruction of the Mau Forest.
- The Ogiek must be part of any decisions made regarding their future.
Today’s judgment puts such processes back into perspective and strikes significant new ground. Key highlights include:
- The Bench unanimously dismissed all the arguments offered by the Kenyan government suggesting it was implementing the earlier judgment.
- The Kenya government must pay compensation to the community of Ksh 57,850,000 in material damages and Ksh 100,000,000 in moral damages.
- The Kenyan government must take all necessary measures, in consultation with the Ogiek community and its representatives, to identify, delimit and grant collective land title to the community and, by law, assure them of unhindered use and enjoyment of their land.
- The Bench ordered the Kenyan government to recognize, respect, protect and consult the Ogiek in accordance with their traditions and customs, on all matters concerning development, conservation or investment on their lands.
- The establishment of a Community Development Fund within 12 months, in which all funds ordered as compensation in this case will be deposited.
Read More On;
- The summary of today’s judgment here
- Indigenous Ogiek community and their case here..
- Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP) Kenya-based NGO founded in 1999 and registered in 2001. OPDP was formed by Ogiek elders, opinion leaders, farmers, and professionals after long land historical injustices that deprived Ogiek community of their rights.
- Minority Rights Group International (MRG) a leading international Human Rights organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious, and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples.