In its first judgment on the treatment and rights of indigenous people, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights (AfCHPR) held that Kenya violated the Ogiek peoples’ rights to land, religion, culture, development, and non-discrimination. See AfCHPR, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights v. Kenya, App. no. 006/2012, Judgment of 26 May 2017. Specifically, the African Court held that the State violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights because Kenya expelled the Ogiek from their ancestral land against their will, without prior consultation or compensation. See id. The Ogiek are forest-dwelling people that live in the Mau Forest, one of Kenya’s largest water catchment areas. They argued that eviction would prevent them from using and maintaining ownership of their ancestral land on which they rely on for their social, economic, and cultural existence. [ACHPR Press Release] This is the second ruling from the African System against Kenya regarding its treatment of indigenous people. In 2010, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) found that the Endorois peoples’ eviction from their land in the 1970’s was in violation of their rights to property, health, culture, natural resources, and religion. [Reuters; HRW] However, this recent judgment, though, is the first from the African Court to rule on indigenous peoples’ rights. [ACHPR Press Release] Further, this is one of only three cases that the African Commission has referred to the Court, and the only one that has been referred on the basis of grave, mass human rights violations. [ESCR] Read more
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