• Indigenous peoples in Kenya

    Indigenous peoples in Kenya

    The indigenous peoples in Kenya include hunter-gatherers such as the Ogiek, Sengwer, Yaaku Waata and Sanya, while pastoralists include the Endorois, Turkana, Maasai, Samburu and others.
  • Peoples

    79,000 people in Kenya are hunter-gatherers.
    25 per cent of Kenya's population belong to pastoralist groups.
  • Land rights

    26 May 2017, the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights judged in favor of the Ogiek community of Kenya. The judgement was a historic victory for the Ogiek, who were acknowledged as indigenous and won both compensation from the government of Kenya and the right to stay in the Mau forest.
  • Rights

    Kenya has no specific legislation on indigenous peoples and has yet to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ratify International Labour Organization Convention 169
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  • Kenya’s ‘Forest People’ in Bitter Fight for their Ancestral Homes

Kenya’s ‘Forest People’ in Bitter Fight for their Ancestral Homes

For centuries, the Ogiek have made their homes deep in the Mau and Mount Elgon forests of western Kenya. “The Ogiek look at forests in a different way. To them, there’s no better home. Forests have always provided the Ogiek with livelihoods, like they are some of the best beekeepers and honey harvesters in the world,” says Peter Kitelo, an Ogiek community leader who was born in the Mount Elgon forest.

Successive post-colonial governments in Kenya have tried to expel the Ogiek from their lands. Kitelo explains, “It was like, the Ogieks were destroying the forests and they had to get out of the forests. The government just doesn’t seem to understand Ogiek culture. For the state, a forest is for animals, not people, and anyone living in a forest is illegally there to poach wild animals”. The Kenyan government has repeatedly justified its attempts to evict the Ogiek from the forests on the grounds that the indigenous people are destroying “fragile ecosystems.” In the recent past, however, forest land confiscated from the Ogiek has not been conserved but rather turned into tea plantations and logging businesses by some “relatively high up” state officials.

Tags: Land rights

About IWGIA

IWGIA - International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs - is a global human rights organisation dedicated to promoting, protecting and defending indigenous peoples’ rights. Read more.

Indigenous World

IWGIA's global report, the Indigenous World, provides an update of the current situation for indigenous peoples worldwide. The Indigenous World 2019.

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