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
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.