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MRG welcomes UNESCO World Heritage Committee Resolution on Lake Bogoria in Kenya

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Minority Rights Group International (MRG) welcomes the adoption by the World Heritage Committee of a decision requiring the government of Kenya to ‘ensure full and effective participation of the Endorois in the management of Lake Bogoria through their own representative institutions.’

In November 2013, MRG – in collaboration with the Endorois Welfare Council, Forest Peoples Programme and IWGIA, wrote to UNESCO to express their continued concerns over the designation of the Lake Bogoria as a World Heritage Site without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the Endorois, who are the rightful owners of the land in and around the site.

This follows on from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ February 2010 decision that the Endorois are the rightful owners of the land in and around Lake Bogoria, that the Government of Kenya must return such land to them, and that the Endorois have the right to benefit from existing economic activities on the land.

In spite of this decision, on 24 June 2011 the World Heritage Committee inscribed Lake Bogoria on the World Heritage List without seeking the Endorois’ participation and consent. In 2012, the African Commission expressed its concern that such consent was not sought.

‘The recommendations underscore that adequate consultation and participation of indigenous peoples should be ensured and their free, prior and informed consent obtained, in relation to development of their territories – including when they are being nominated and inscribed as World Heritage Sites’, says Lucy Claridge, MRG’s Head of Law.

Wilson Kipkazi, Executive Director of the Endorois Welfare Council, says ‘it’s only logical that where projects have a serious impact on indigenous communities, such as the creation of natural parks, forest or game reserves, on indigenous peoples’ lands and territories, they should be duly consulted and consent sought.’

The World Heritage Committee has called upon the Kenyan Government to present an implementation report by 1 February 2015 for examination at the Committee’s 39th session regarding involvement of Endorois community. MRG calls upon the Government to respect this.

Although the government has committed itself to implementing the African Commission decision, it has not taken tangible actions and continues to operate as if the Endorois decision does not exist. In 2013, the African Commission issued a resolution specifically calling the Government of Kenya to implement the decision.

Notes to editors

  • Minority Rights Group International is the leading international human rights organization working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples. We work with more than 150 partners in over 50 countries.
  • Interview opportunities:
    • Lucy Claridge, Head of Law, MRG
    • Wilson Kipkazi, Endorois Welfare Council

For more information or for interviews, contact the MRG Press Office on press@minorityrights.org.

Filed Under: Kenya
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