The Endorois case
What is this case about?
In the 1970s, the Kenyan government evicted hundreds of Endorois families from their traditional lands around the Lake Bogoria area in the Rift Valley, to create a game reserve for tourism. In response, and after pursuing legal options at the national level, the Endorois Welfare Council, assisted by fellow ESCR-Net members, Minority Rights Group International and the Center for Minority Rights Development, took the case to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR). In 2010, the ACHPR issued a judgment stating that the Kenyan government had violated the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, specifically the rights to religious practice, to property, to culture, to the free disposition of natural resources, and to development. While certain aspects of the Commission decision have been realized, the Kenyan government has mostly not complied with the recommendations yet. The case represents the first legal recognition of an African indigenous peoples’ rights over traditionally owned land and is also the first case globally which found a violation of the right to development. For a full case summary, please click here.
What collective implementation activity took place?
ESCR-Net members worked in close partnership and solidarity with members and allies based both in Kenya and beyond, to advance implementation of the specific decision and land-related rights generally. Throughout the implementation efforts, particular emphasis has been placed on the role of women in progressing implementation and in engaging and taking leadership roles in land rights more broadly. Collective efforts include:
- community workshops conducted in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018 with Strategic Litigation Working Group (SLWG) members, Minority Rights Group International, Dejusticia (Colombia), Hakijamii (Kenya), Kenya Human Rights Commission (Kenya), Kenya Land Alliance (Kenya), Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (Kenya) and Center for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE), among others, regarding issues of compensation, restitution, registration, community bylaws, and women’s leadership
- various strategic exchanges with community members and allies, and engagement with the ACHPR, the government task force (created in 2014 with a one-year mandate to study the implementation of the Endorois decision) as well as various government agencies
- a survey on immaterial losses connected with the eviction, to support negotiations with the government regarding a monetary amount to compensate the community for such losses
- the formulation of a draft Endorois community membership code (to provide criteria for identifying who may be recognised as a member of the Endorois community).
For more information on the SLWG’s collective implementation action on this case, please click here.
- claimants’ admissibility submission on the admissibility of the case (English only)
- claimants’ submission on the merits of the case (English only)
- the ACHPR’s decision on the case (English only)
- the ACHPR Resolution calling on the Republic of Kenya to implement the Endorois decision (2O13)(English, French, Arabic and Portuguese)
- SLWG letter regarding follow up of Commission recommendations (March 2017) (English and Spanish)
- CESCR’s Concluding Observations on the combined second to fifth periodic reports of Kenya (2016), paras. 15-16 (English, French, Spanish and Arabic)
- Open Society Justice Initiative, Strategic Litigation Impacts: Indigenous Peoples’ Land Rights (2017) – for a summary of the case and commentary on its specific and wider impacts
- ESCR-Net, The Emerging Leadership of Endorois Women: An Indirect Impact of the Endorois Case (2019)