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PRESS STATEMENT ON UNWARRANTED TARGETING OF HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS WORKING WITH THE OGIEK COMMUNITY

20 June 2019

Nairobi Kenya

The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya (NCHRD-K) strongly condemn the recent threats to human rights defenders from the Ogiek People’s Development Program (OPDP) in Nakuru County. There has been death threats against Mr. Kobei, the Ogiek People’s Development Programme Director, two other colleagues from the community leaders and threats against the closure of the organization.

On May 26 2017, OPDP went to the African Court to petition the Ogiek case which had seen perpetrators want to pave way for an easy settlement in the Mau forest, ignore and ensure a non- implementation of their case. Following an eight year legal battle, this right was however affirmed by the decision of the African Court that has asserted community right to land.

The OPDP and its leadership has for many years received threats because of their active agitation of the land rights of indigenous Ogiek community living in the Mau Forest.. The recent threats started when despite delayed implementation of the decision, the Kenyan government set up a taskforce to receive views from various stakeholders to inform the implementing the court decision. OPDP mobilized its members who have articulated their claim to land right, plans for rehabilitation of the forest and recommended annulling of titles deeds issued to private citizens following excision of the forest.

The beneficiaries of the forest land have vowed to reverse this through various legal and extra-judicial strategies including threats and intimidation of Indigenous peoples rights activists.

The National Colaition of Human Rights Defenders-Kenya call on:

  1. National Police Service and the Office of the Director of Criminal Investigations to investigate the threats reported by the Human Rights Defenders from the Ogiek Community.
  2. The government of Kenya to investigate the destruction of property belonging to the Ogiek community that happened last week and hold the perpetrators into action.
  3. The Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) to conduct thorough investigation to ongoing human rights violations of the Indigenous peoples living in the Mau and other forests in Kenya.

Signed:

Kamau Ngugi

Executive Director,
National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders – Kenya

For more information or to arrange for interviews contact |Francis Ndegwa| francis@hrdcoalition.org| 0721443397 | Communications Officer at NCHRD-K

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