Regional Decisions: African Commission

CMRD and MRG on behalf of Endorois Welfare Council v. Kenya

The African Commission held that Kenya violated Articles 8, 14, 17, 21 and 22 of the African Charter when officials restricted access to ancestral land and evicted the Endorois people, who the Commission recognizes as a distinct community of indigenous peoples in need of special protection, from the Lake Bogoria region without proper restitution. Articles 8, 14, 17, 21, and 22 of the African Charter recognize the African peoples’ right to practice religion, right to property, right to culture, right to free disposition of natural resources, and right to development, respectively. The Commission recommended that Kenya promptly recognize the ownership rights of the Endorois people, restitute the Endorois land, pay adequate compensation for the loss suffered, and grant registration to the Endorois Welfare Committee to represent the tribe’s interest in local government affairs.

SERAC and CESR v. Nigeria

The African Commission held that Nigeria violated Articles 4, 14, 16, 18, and 24 of the African Charter by condoning and facilitating environmentally degrading and polluting practices of oil companies in traditional Ogoniland, through military force. Articles 4, 14, 16, 18, and 24 of the African Charter recognize the African peoples’ right to life, right to property, right to physical and mental health, right to family and for women and children to be free of discrimination, and right to a satisfactory environment for development, respectively. The Commission urged the Nigerian government to stop military attacks on Ogoni communities, provide access to the territory, conduct an investigation into the human rights violations found by the Commission, provide compensation to the victims of these violations, undertake a comprehensive cleanup of the damages lands and rivers, prepare appropriate environmental and social impact assessments for any future oil development, and provide information on health and environmental risks associated with such development to regulatory and decision-making bodies in communities likely to be affected by oil development.