African Court: Ogiek people cannot be evicted
The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued provisional measures to ensure that the Ogiek people of the Mau forest cannot be evicted by the Kenyan government, while the matter continues before the court. The Ogiek people are one of a number of hunter-gatherer peoples in Kenya threatened by forced land evictions. This historical result was announced mid-March after the Ogiek case recenty became the first indigenous rights case to come before the court since it began in 2006.
While the case is likely to be heard by the court over a number of months, the decision is a clear success for the Ogiek people and other indigenous peoples in Africa. By ordering the government to reinstate former restrictions on land transactions in the Mau forest, the court has brought global attention to the seriousness of the Ogiek people's plight. With IWGIA support, our partner in the region, OGIEK Peoples' Development Program (OPDP), first took the case to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. The commission then transferred the case to the court, where rulings are legally binding. Our project with OPDP empowers the Ogiek people to monitor and document human rights violations made against them, and to take action. IWGIA co-funded their initiative to take their case to the commission, along with Minority Rights Group. As long as their case is before the court, the Ogiek people cannot be evicted from their land. This historic case has good potential to set a precedent against forced land evictions in Africa.
Tags: Land rights