Chairperson, Honourable Commissioners, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
While the Constitution of Kenya provides for special protection and inclusion of the marginalized groups(therein defined and categorized as follows):
(a) a community that, because of its relatively small population or for any other reason, has been unable to fully participate in the integrated social and economic life of Kenya as a whole;
(b) a traditional community that, out of a need or desire to preserve its unique culture and identity from assimilation, has remained outside the integrated social and economic life of Kenya as a whole;
(c) an indigenous community that has retained and maintained a traditional lifestyle and livelihood based on a hunter or gatherer economy; or
(d) pastoral persons and communities, whether they are—
(i) nomadic; or
(ii) a settled community that, because of its relative geographic isolation, has experienced only marginal participation in the integrated social and economic life of Kenya as a whole;
They remain undocumented and extremely excluded in the governance and development processes of society.
Pursuant to Article 56 of the Constitution, we call up the Commission to request the Government of Kenya to:
Put in place affirmative action programmes designed to ensure that minorities and marginalised groups—
- participate and are represented in governance and other spheres of life;
- are provided special opportunities in educational and economic fields;
- are provided special opportunities for access to employment;
- develop their cultural values, languages and practices; and
- have reasonable access to water, health services and infrastructure.
Also and following the August 2019 census, ensure the disaggregation and presentation of data in a way that enables the country to understand the number and status of these groups.
Finally, impress upon the Commission to:
In recognition of the unique space occupied by the indigenous communities in the society, consider a special slot where one of their representatives would be speaking during the official opening sessions of the Commission.
Chairperson, Distinguished Guests:
The indigenous and other ethnic minorities continue to face land and resource injustices. Their land and resource rights are not protected and are subject to bias and discrimination. They are forcefully evicted and arbitrarily displaced by the Government and corporations under the disguise of preserving the environment or as a result of mega projects and infrastructural development. They continue to be exposed in natural resource extraction activities that to do not provide equitable and participatory management, benefit-sharing and compensatory frameworks. There is also the failure to implement the recommendations of the African Commission, the TJRC in Kenya among others. Finally, stateless communities which experience the same levels of vulnerabilities around land and resource rights remain more exposed and unprotected.
We therefore call upon the Commission to impress upon the Government of Kenya to:
- Adopt and implement the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights which will go a long way in ensuring state protection and corporate accountability to all the local communities when it comes to investments, development and resource governance.
- Undertake an inventory of the existing minority communities with a view to obtaining a clear assessment of their status and land rights
- Protect them against arbitrary evictions, recognize them as independent ethnic communities with rights to live in and obligations to protect forests.
- Develop a framework for implementing and reporting on the implementation of the AU decisions on the Ogiek and Endorois communities.
- Provide citizenship and land access and ownership rights to the stateless and other undocumented populations in the society.
- Put in place national mechanisms for sharing of benefits accruing from the extraction of national resources.
- Also, enable the National Land Commission to develop mechanisms for dealing with historical and emerging land injustices meted to the indigenous among other groups.
Finally, we impress upon the Commission to:
- Just like it has regionalized some of the UN Mechanisms like on corruption, displacements among others, provide guidance regarding the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights