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Rights group urges Kenyan government to stop parcelling Endorois community land without consultation

20 February 2014

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) condemns the use of excessive force by the Kenyan police against the Endorois community in the Mochongoi Forest, Marigat, Baringo County, on 14 February.

A group of Endorois peacefully assembled on 14 February to protest the Ministry of Lands’ planned issuance of title deeds and parcelling of their land to non-Endorois. Disturbing video footage shows police beating and arresting Endorois youth. The violence occurred during a meeting with the Marigat District Commissioner, to discuss a land dispute between the Endorois and unknown men who had attempted to sub-divide a piece of land the Endorois claim is theirs.

The Endorois understand that the Ministry of Lands is set to issue title deeds for the disputed land in March 2014. The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights specifically recognised their rights over this land in a February 2010 decision.

‘Such action is in clear violation of the African Commission’s 2010 ruling, as well as the recent resolution adopted at the Commission’s 54th ordinary session, calling upon the Government of Kenya to comply with its obligations under the African Charter to restore the Endorois’ land, or adequately compensate them,’ says Lucy Claridge, MRG’s Head of Law.

‘It is baffling that the Ministry is proceeding without consulting or seeking the participation of any Endorois, and without the involvement of Kenya’s National Land Commission, the body constitutionally mandated to manage the registration of titles,’ adds Claridge.

Despite the African Commission’s landmark ruling that found the Kenyan government responsible for violating the Endorois’ rights to property, to culture, to development, to free disposition of natural resources and to practice religion, by evicting them from their lands to make way for a wildlife reserve, the government has so far failed to provide a clear plan on how it is going to implement the ruling.

This conduct by the Kenyan security forces is also a clear violation of the Constitution of Kenya, as it has failed to respect the right to assembly, demonstration, picketing and petition, as stated in Article 37, in addition to failing to observe the safeguards on Community Land as stated in Article 63.

‘The government must investigate these clear human rights violations, and seek the full participation and consultation of the Endorois within the Mochongoi land titling process, in full compliance with the 2010 ruling,’ says Wilson Kipkazi, Executive Director of the Endorois Welfare Council (EWC).

Notes to the Editor

Minority Rights Group International (MRG) is a non-governmental organisation working to secure the rights of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities and indigenous peoples worldwide

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