Sunday, May 28, 2017

Indigenous people protect their home

Hunter-gatherers in Kenya have won an eight-year court battle against the government's plan to evict them from their ancestral land in the Mau Forest. The Ogiek were entitled to live on their ancestral land and the government should not have tried to evict them, a pan-African court ruled. Campaigners hailed the ruling as a huge victory for indigenous communities. The ruling affects some 35, 000 traditional hunters who live in the forest, some 200km from the capital, Nairobi. The Mau Forest, covering 273,300 hectares (675,000 acres), is the largest forest of indigenous trees in East Africa.
The government had argued that the hunter-gatherers needed to be evicted to protect the indigenous forest. But the African Court of Human and People's Rights ruled that the government had violated a series of rights of the Ogiek people, including the right to property and the right to practice their culture in the forest in western Kenya.
Environmental degradation in the Mau Forest had been caused mainly by "ill-advised" logging concessions and settlement by non-Ogiek people, Justice Augustino Ramadhani said.
Amnesty International said , "a ruling is not enough, it must be respected. The Kenyan government must now implement the ruling and let the Ogiek live freely on their ancestral land."

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