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Oral Statement by MRG on Human Rights Situation of Minorities and Indigenous Peoples in Africa at 75th Ordinary Session of African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights

9 May 2023

This statement was delivered at the 75th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Right on 4 May 2023  by Samuel Ade Ndasi, AU Advocacy Officer at Minority Rights Group International.

Honourable  Chairperson  of  the  African  Commission,  Honourable  Members  of  the Commission, distinguished representatives of States, and esteemed colleagues of international and national NGOs.

My  name  is  Samuel  Ade  Ndasi  and  I  am  grateful  for  the  opportunity  to  make  this statement on behalf of Minority Rights Group International (MRG), regarding the human rights situation of minorities and indigenous peoples whom we work with in Africa.  My statement  focuses  on  the  indigenous  Ogiek  people  of  Kenya  and  the  situation  of  sub- Saharan migrants in Tunisia.

On the indigenous Ogiek people of Kenya

On 23 June 2022, the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights delivered a reparations judgement in  Application 006/2012  – The African Commission v The Republic of Kenya, in which clear orders were issued and timelines set within which the government of  Kenya  should  implement  the orders.  It  is  now  eleven  months  post  the  reparations judgment, and the government of Kenya has not implemented any of the orders and/or taken  any  formal  initiative  to  do  so.  The  Ogiek  people,  having  found  hope,  now  feel orphaned by the government of Kenya’s non implementation of the orders in the twin judgments  in  the  Ogiek  Case.  The  non  implementation  of  the African Court’s orders must  be  strenuously  condemned,  as  it  undermines  the  authority  of  both  the  African Commission and the African Court as monitoring and implementing mechanisms of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Kenya is a party.

MRG  is  deeply  concerned  that  the  actions/omissions  of  the  government  of  Kenya threaten the very foundation of human and peoples’ rights promotion and protection on the continent, and therefore, calls on all stakeholders to insist that the judgements of the African Court must be respected.

On the situation of sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia

MRG  is  deeply  concerned  by  the  widespread  escalation  of  racist  attacks  against  sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia following a statement by President Kais Saied on 21 February 2023, calling for the expulsion of undocumented migrants on the basis that the ‘goal’ of migration is a criminal plot to change the ethnic demographics of Tunisia.

MRG welcomes the Press Statement by Hon. Commissioner Maya Sahli Fadel – Special Rapporteur on Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Internally Displaced Persons and Migrants in Africa,  on  26  February  2023,  condemning  President Kais Saied’s statement as being xenophobic and discriminatory, and contrary to Article 2 of the African Charter.

MRG  notes  that  despite  President  Kais  Saied’s announcement  on  6  March  2023,  of measures to ease the situation of migrants, there are no measures in place to mitigate the violence  that  affected  thousands  of  migrants  following  the  21  February  statement. Hundreds  of  migrants arrested  during  the  violence  remain  unaccounted  for;  many  who were expelled from work overnight and from their houses have been rendered homeless and destitute; many who were beaten and stabbed have not received justice, among other grievances.

Minority Rights Group International, therefore, respectfully requests the Commission to:

  • Urge  all  stakeholders  involved  in  the  promotion  and  protection  of  human  and peoples’ rights to support efforts towards ensuring that the government of Kenya implements the Ogiek twin judgments and to comply with its obligations under international human rights law; and
  • Urge the government of Tunisia to put in place urgent positive measures to ensure that the victims of the February – March racist/xenophobic attacks on sub-Saharan migrants  receive  justice,  and  for  the  perpetrators  of  violence  on  migrants  to  be held accountable.

Photo: Screenshot from advocacy statement.