Kenya: Ruling in Ogiek case gives hope to Indigenous peoples everywhere

Following today’s ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights that the Kenyan government violated the rights of the Indigenous Ogiek people when it evicted them from their land, Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said:
“Today’s ruling is a historic victory for the Ogiek community, and gives hope to all Indigenous peoples everywhere.
“In this one ruling, the court has both affirmed the Ogiek’s right to live freely on their ancestral land, and proved to the continent that regional justice mechanisms work.
“But a ruling is not enough, it must be respected. The Kenyan government must now implement the ruling and let the Ogiek live freely on their ancestral land.”
The Ogiek, who live mostly in Kenya’s Mau and Mt Elgon forests, are a hunter-gatherer community. They have fought for a long time in the national courts, and now at the African Court, to live on their land of their ancestors, but the government has routinely subjected them to arbitrarily evictions citing the need to conserve the environment, claims the court rejected.
The case was initially lodged by Ogiek Peoples’ Development Programme, Minority Rights Group and the Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE) at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, before being referred by the Commission to the Court in 2012.