The historical Verdict follows a landmark judgment of the Court of Justice of 26 May 2017, which found that the Kenyan government had violated the Ogiek’s right to life, property, natural resources, development, religion and culture under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
“This judgment and the award of reparations mark another important step in the Ogiek’s struggle for recognition and protection of their rights to their ancestral lands in the Mau Forestand implementation of the 2017 African Court ruling,” said Francisco Cali Tzay, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The court ordered the Kenyan government to pay compensation of 57,850,000 Kenyan shillings (approximately on non-discrimination, religion, culture and development,” according to a statement from the United Nations Human Rights Office OHCHR.
In addition, the court ordered non-monetary reparations, including the return of Ogiek ancestral lands and full recognition of the Ogiek as indigenous peoples.
The court is also asking the Kenyan government to establish demarcations, demarcations and titles to protect Ogiek property rights relating to the occupation, use and enjoyment of the Mau forest and its resources.
In addition, the court ordered Kenya to take the necessary legislative, administrative or other action to recognize, respect and protect the Ogiek’s right to be consulted in relation to development, conservation or investment projects in their ancestral lands.
They must have the right to give or withhold their free and informed consent to these projects in order to minimize their survivability, the ruling said.
The independent UN legal expert Mr. Cali Tzayprovided the court with an expert opinion in the landmark case, based on the mandate’s long-standing commitment to promoting and protecting the rights of the Ogiek.
“I welcome this unprecedented compensation decision and recognize that the decision sends a strong signal for the protection of land and cultural rights the Ogiek in Kenya and for the rights of tribal peoples in Africa and around the world,” he said.
The UN expert urged the Kenyan government to respect the court’s decision and implement this judgment and the judgment of the Court of 2017 without delay.
Special rapporteurs and independent experts are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to investigate and report on a specific human rights issue or situation in a country. The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.