The Ogiek community in Kenya will on May 26th hold a celebration to mark one year since they won a historic case against the Kenyan government.
The African Court on Human and People’s Rights, a continental court established in 2006 by African countries, on May 26 2017 delivered its verdict in Arusha, Tanzania – ruling in favour of the Ogiek and recognizing their right to Kenya’s Mau Forest as their ancestral home, and their role in protecting it.
The court ruled that the Kenyan government had violated seven articles of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, of which Kenya is a signatory, and which is intended to protect basic freedoms and human rights.
Speaking in Nakuru during a Media breakfast meeting ,the Ogiek People’s Development Program Executive Director Daniel Kobei said the Ruling was paramount to the community hence the celebration to awaken the government to ensure compensation as was in the verdict.
“The purpose of the celebration on 26th May 2018 is basically to awaken the government to adhere to the compensation requirement as was in the verdict” he said.
According to Kobei, the government has responded over the submissions they had made as a community but they still feel much needs to be done.
He says a taskforce was formed to address the issues as per the verdict of the Arusha based court in the case but they still feel as a community there is no direct link between them and the government.
“A 17-persons taskforce was formed to address the issues raised but then we see that there is still no direct link between us and the government” he said.
The verdict recognized the Ogiek’s indigenous status and their right to reparations from the Kenyan government for the suffering they have endured through forcible evictions.
It recognized the Ogiek’s “strong attachment to the forest”, their legal right to live on the forest land, their freedom to practice their traditions and deemed evictions to be disproportionate to conservation aims.
The Kenyan government in court said it accepted the judgment.