Two years on from African Commission’s ruling, Kenya continues to drag its feet in recognising indigenous peoples’ ownership of wildlife park, MRG urges government to act
On the second anniversary of a landmark ruling by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), Minority Rights Group International condemns the Kenyan government’s lack of commitment to ensuring justice for the Endorois people and urges the authorities to immediately restore ownership to the community of their ancestral lands around the Lake Bogoria National Reserve.
Although the Commission recognised, for the first time in the continent, indigenous peoples’ rights over traditionally occupied land and their right to be involved in, and benefit from, any development affecting their land, the Endorois still have no land title, have received no compensation for the loss they suffered during almost 40 years, nor a significant share in tourism revenue from their land.
Kenya adopted a new Constitution in August 2010, which, together with a new National Land Policy, supported the Commission’s decision in recognising indigenous peoples’ ancestral lands.
‘Two years on from the African Commission’s ruling the Endorois are still waiting for justice to be brought home. The government’s lack of engagement with the community is of extreme concern and, inevitably, it raises questions about their commitment to the high ideals to be found in Kenya’s new Constitution,’ says Carla Clarke, MRG’s Head of Law.
In an attempt to pressure the government and highlight their continued situation, the Endorois have repeatedly raised their case with the African Commission and the United Nations. However, attempts to engage with the government have failed to illicit even one meeting between the community, its representatives and government officials.
‘In view of Kenya’s new Constitution, which provides for the establishment of a National Land Commission to review past abuses and recommend appropriate redress, it is particularly important that the government implements the Commission’s decision without further delay,’ added Carla Clarke.
Endorois land was originally appropriated by the Kenyan government in the 1970s to create the Lake Bogoria National Reserve. On 2 February 2010, the African Union adopted a decision of the ACHPR which declared firstly that the expulsion of Endorois from their lands was illegal, and secondly that the Kenyan government had violated certain fundamental rights of the community protected under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other international instruments
The Endorois are a semi-nomadic indigenous community of approximately 60,000 people, who for centuries have earned their livelihoods from herding cattle and goats in the Lake Bogoria area of Kenya’s Rift Valley
When tourists flock to Lake Bogoria, famous for its flamingos and geysers, they have little idea of the high cost the Endorois paid for their eviction. The vast majority of the community still live in severe poverty, have little or no electricity, walk miles to collect water in an area stricken by drought, and are often dependent on relief food
Since the creation of the wildlife reserve, the Endorois have been unable to gather the plants they once relied on for medicinal purposes, conduct religious ceremonies at their sacred sites or visit the graves of their ancestors.
Notes to Editors
Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is a non-governmental organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide.
Interview opportunities are available with:
- Carla Clarke, MRG’s Head of Law
- Wilson Kipsang Kipkazi, Endorois Welfare Council
To arrange interviews please contact: