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Communities & forests in Kenya: Where are new laws taking them?

On 26 May 2017, the still-new African Court handed down a landmark ruling on a case brought against the Government of Kenya by the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights on behalf of the Mau Ogiek forest dweller community. The judgement requires that the Government of Kenya respects the Ogiek’s ownership of the Mau Forest. It found insufficient grounds for evicting them on either the grounds of public or conservation interest.  The judgement confirmed that the main degradation of the forest stems not from Ogiek occupation, but state actions including the issuing of logging concessions. This Briefing Note, written in March 2017 looks closely at broader elements of the domestic legal situation affecting the right of Kenyan communities to own and manage forests on their lands.

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