December 14, 2016, Ogiek Peoples Development Program (OPDP) and Ogiek Council of Elders visited the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights (KNCHR) at their Nairobi offices to present the historical land injustices Ogiek community has experienced in Mau Forest Complex.
They were also accompanied by Endorois, Samburu and Sengwer who are also going through similar struggle.
They pleaded with the commission to look into their grievances and fast track their full enjoyment of land rights
“The community is really suffering and we need the help of the commission to solve our problems,” said OPDP Executive Director Daniel Kobei.
He said persistent evictions from the forest and delayed formal resettlement has exposed the members to severe suffering which is a violation of both their human and land rights
Since the pre-colonial period, Ogiek community, an indigenous minority in the country has been subjected to frequent movements from Mau Forest ecosystem. Subsequent governments has neither spared them.
Kobei said their previous efforts of seeking redress from government have been futile prompting them to turn to the commission for help.
Joseph Towett, chairperson of the Ogiek Council of Elders said they are in a state of desperation having been victims of evictions and displacements for more than 20 years.
“We are lagging behind in development due to the existing challenges. Community members are poor and it is the government that is contributing to creation of their poverty, "he said.
Patricia Nyaundi, KNCHR chief executive officer appreciated the community for presenting their grievances to the commission and recognised them as matters touching on their human rights.
She said the community had a right to enjoy their citizenship as provided for in the Constitution's Bill of Rights.
Nyaundi said she will form a 7-member committee that will work with the community to look into their grievances and provide the necessary support.