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  • Writer's pictureInternational Lawyers Project


Updated: Nov 24, 2023

In a significant stride towards empowering indigenous communities, ILP conducted training for the Ogiek People’s Development Program (OPDP) from the 16th to 18th of October 2023 in Nakuru, Kenya. The training focused on the following topics: Negotiation, Alternative Justice Systems, and the Implementation of the 2017 and 2022 rulings of the African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR).

Lucy Claridge, Executive Director of ILP, spearheaded the training by addressing the landmark rulings of the ACHPR in the Mau Ogiek case. The first ruling emphasised that the preservation of the Mau Forest could not justify the denial of the Ogiek's indigenous status and the rights associated with it. She also discussed the court's reparations ruling in June 2022, including directives for the Kenyan government to return the Ogiek's ancestral lands in the Mau Forest within two years through a delimiting, demarcation, and titling exercise in consultation with the Ogiek. In exploring the rulings, it becomes evident that the first ruling emphasised the indispensable role of indigenous peoples in conservation, with the ACHPR recognising the link between Indigenous communities, land, and the natural environment. Despite the two landmark rulings on the rights of the Ogiek, the Kenyan government has been slow to implement these decisions.

The training also revealed a critical issue on the violation of indigenous people’s rights. Records show that indigenous lands encompass about 20% to 25% of the Earth's land surface. This land area holds 80% of the world's remaining biodiversity. This statistic underscores the essential role that indigenous peoples play in the management of forests and as effective stewards of the environment. However, despite their crucial contributions, the custodianship of indigenous peoples over the environment and ecosystems remains largely unrecognised, leading to a series of challenges and injustices. Governments around the world, including the Government of Kenya, have increasingly prioritised international investments on carbon credits, often resulting in the unjust eviction of indigenous populations from their homes in the name of environmental conservation.

The training also extended beyond legal insights, addressing practical challenges in securing community land titles. The participants collaborated in three groups to map out their land and create timelines for the steps needed to secure their community land titles.

This capacity building training is part of ILP’s ongoing commitment to empower indigenous communities, providing them with fundamental knowledge of their rights and supporting the structuring of their communities. The struggle faced by the Ogiek mirrors the broader challenge of securing recognition and justice for Indigenous Peoples worldwide. ILP remains steadfast in its mission to advocate for justice and equality in the face of these challenges.


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