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Kenya:  Defending ESC Rights, the Right to Development, and the Environment

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) has joined with the Center for International Environment Law (CIEL) to intervene as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) in support of a case lead by the Kenyan organization Centre for Minority Rights in Development (CEMIRIDE) and SAVE Lamu, a grassroots organization of those living in the Lamu coastal area.  The case involves a large “development” project in Lamu, Kenya that would result in the forced eviction of several communities and environmental destruction of coastal areas and a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The GI-ESCR and CIEL were brought into the case through the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group.

The amicus intervention argues that the project would violate social rights, including the human rights to housing, water, sanitation, food, education, and health, as well as the right to development and environmental law.  It also calls for the free, active and meaningful participation of the effected communities and their access to all relevant information.  The amicus relies on international law in its own right as well as a means to interpret the Constitution of the Republic of Kenya.

A copy of the GI-ESCR and CIEL amicus brief can be found HERE.

A copy of the CEMIRIDE petition to the court can be found HERE.

Kenyan Business Daily article on the case HERE.


Kenya: Advancing Women’s Housing and Land Rights

The Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has joined with the Federation of Women Lawyers Kenya (FIDA - Kenya) in submitting a joint Parallel Report to the Human Rights Committee.  The Report in part addresses women’s equality and women’s rights to housing, land and other resources.

The joint Parallel Report is available HERE.


Garissa case: Remedies for Forced Eviction in Kenya

The GI-ESCR intervened at the request of Haki Jamii, a Nairobi based NGO, in a recent forced eviction case in Kenya.  Working closely with the affected community and Haki Jamii, the GI-ESCR took the lead in drafting an amicus curiae intervention aimed at informing the new Constitution of Kenya by bringing in international human rights standards as well as comparative law from South Africa.  The amicus curiae brief was drafted by the GI-ESCR on behalf of the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group’s Strategic Litigation Initiative and was joined by the Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI), the Community Law Centre (CLC), ​​the Centre for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation (CERA) and the Social Rights Advocacy Centre (SRAC) as well as Malcolm Langford, Co-Coordinator of the ESCR-Net Adjudication Working Group and Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Programme (Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo).

In a landmark ruling, the High Court relied on the amicus intervention and read international human rights standards into the understanding of the Constitution of Kenya and ordered that the forcibly evicted community be returned to their lands, have their homes rebuilt and be compensated for their losses.  The court also awarded the victims 224.6 million Kenyan Shillings (about US$2,660,000).

“We want to most sincerely thank you for the critical support we received which significantly influenced the decision.  Your input was particularly invaluable because as you can see the Court relied heavily on the international covenants and international law principles especially with regard to what constitutes forced evictions, the need for restitution etc.  We are working on enforcement and once we have finalized the preliminaries we shall get back to you.”

-Odindo Opiata, Haki Jamii

For an analysis of the case see Kenya Law Reports

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