African Court orders that Kenya pays reparations to Ogiek people of Mau Forest

One of Kenya’s most vulnerable communities, the Ogiek people of the Mau Forest, have been awarded more than USD 1.3m by the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights for breaches of their rights under the African Charter. The court found the breaches were committed by the Kenyan government, which has tried to remove the Ogiek from the forest to allow other undertakings there. According to the Kenyan government, much of its activity in the forest was to protect the local water sources which are of great importance to the rest of the country.

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The normally formal, hushed corridors of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania, erupted with chanting and dancing last week, after the court read its decision on the reparations that must be made by the Kenyan government to the Ogiek people of the Mau forest.

Asylum-seekers should be dealt with under refugee law, says Kenyan court – not under immigration legislation

The Kenyan courts regularly hear cases related to people claiming to be asylum-seekers. The latest, decided three months ago, led to a judgment pointing out that the men at the heart of the matter, flagged for deportation, had the right to access Kenya’s elaborate new system designed to inquire into the validity of someone’s claim for refugee status. The two men were convicted of being illegally in Kenya and were to have been deported once they had served their term of imprisonment.

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The problems experienced by Espoir Ndaruhuya and Fredy Ndakenesha, both from the Democratic Republic of Congo, are not unusual. They came to Kenya from the DRC, and told the trial court they entered the country intent on seeking refugee status. They were arrested, however, charged, tried and convicted – but under the law related to immigration, rather than the law that applies to refugees.

Judgment highlights ambiguity of abortion provision in Kenya’s constitution

In a judgment already welcomed by many, but likely to prove hugely controversial, the high court in Kenya has decided a constitutional petition centred on the question of whether – and under what circumstances – abortion is lawful in that country. The case involved a teenage girl who presented herself to a health centre because she was experiencing pregnancy ‘complications’. Diagnosing a partial abortion, the clinical officer completed the abortion, but both the patient and the clinic officer were subsequently arrested and charged.

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The first thing that strikes anyone reading this judgment is what happened to the two people in whose name the application was brought.


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