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  • President Uhuru Kenyatta during the virtual launch of the Kenya Programme for Country Partnership (PCP) Self-Starter by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization  FILE 
  • A United Nations (UN) expert has hailed the African Court on Human and People’s Rights decision for its landmark ruling against the Kenyan government.

    The independent UN human rights expert on Monday, July 18, felicitated a decision by the African Court, to award reparations to the Ogiek indigenous peoples, for the harm they suffered due to “injustices and discrimination.”

    The historic ruling comes after the Court issued a landmark judgment on May 26, 2017, finding that the government of Kenya violated the Ogiek's right to life, property, natural resources, development, religion, and culture under the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

    Entrance to United Nations offices in Nairobi
    Entrance to United Nations offices in Nairobi. TWITTER  UNITED NATIONS

    The Court ordered the government of Kenya to pay compensation of Ksh57,850,000 for material prejudice for loss of property and natural resources.

    Further, the government was ordered to pay Ksh100 million for moral prejudice suffered by the Ogiek peoples, “due to violations of the right to non-discrimination, religion, culture and development”, according to a statement issued by the UN human rights office. 

    According to the Court, the government was also ordered to offer non-monetary reparations, such as restitution of Ogiek ancestral lands and full recognition of the Ogiek as indigenous peoples.

    The Kenyan government was also ordered to carry out delimitation, demarcation, and titling in order to protect Ogiek property rights relating to the occupation, use, and enjoyment of the Mau Forest and its resources.

    The Court ordered Kenya to take the necessary legislative, administrative, and other steps to recognise, respect, and protect the Ogiek's right to be consulted on development, conservation, and investment projects in their ancestral lands.

    “This judgment and award of reparations mark another important step in the struggle of the Ogiek for recognition and protection of their rights to ancestral land in the Mau Forest and implementation of the 2017 judgment of the African Court,” the independent UN rights expert Francisco Calí Tzay, stated.

    “I welcome this unprecedented ruling for reparations and acknowledge that the decision sends a strong signal for the protection of the land and cultural rights of the Ogiek in Kenya, and for indigenous peoples’ rights in Africa and around the world,” he added.

    United Nations Tower in New York City
    United Nations Tower in New York City.

    Cal Tzay, based on the mandate's long-standing engagement in the promotion and protection of Ogiek rights, provided expert testimony to the Court in the landmark case. 

    The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples further challenged the Kenyan government to respect the Court's decision and swiftly implement this judgment and the court's 2017 ruling. By Mumbi Mutuko,


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