The Endorois Welfare Council, IWGIA, Minority Rights Group and Forest Peoples Programme have written to UNESCO to express their continued concerns over the designation of the Lake Bogoria site (in Kenya) as a World Heritage Site without obtaining the free, prior and informed consent of the Endorois, who are the rightful owners of the land in and around the site.
Despite several requests to consult with the community, the Endorois were not included in the UNESCO inscription process (finalised in June 2011). Since the inscription, the Endorois have similarly been denied the opportunity to be involved in the management of Lake Bogoria, and they do not receive any share of the benefits. This is despite the fact that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a decision in May 2009 finding that the Endorois are the rightful owners of the land in and around Lake Bogoria, and ruled that the Government of Kenya must return such land to them. Further, the Commission found that the Endorois have the right to benefit from existing economic activities on the land.
However, four years after the ruling and despite considerable efforts by the community to progress its implementation, the Government of Kenya still has yet to take any significant steps to comply with the recommendations. Instead, the Government of Kenya has taken a number of steps that have continued and intensified the violation of the Endorois’ rights and contravene the Commission’s decision. One such step was the nomination of Lake Bogoria as a World Heritage site without consultation or consent, as the Commission itself has underlined.
The letter therefore requests that UNESCO and the IUCN raise these concerns with the World Heritage Committee in the context of a State of Conservation report (‘SOC’).