July 12, 2011 Leave a comment
Leading international human rights organizations and experts have been granted leave to be joined as amici curiae in a landmark economic and social rights petition before the High Court of Kenya in Embu. These are Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Socio-Economic Rights Institute; Community Law Centre; Centre for Economic and Social Rights (Hakijamii); Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation Social Rights Advocacy Centre; and Malcolm Langford Director of the Socio-Economic Rights Programme (Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo).
The case, filed by a community of over 1,000 residents in Garissa, Kenya, seeks to have the government enjoined from evicting petitioners from a piece of land they have been occupying for several years. The case orders that the petitioners be provided with emergency alternative housing, shelter/accommodation, food, clean and safe drinking water, sanitary facilities and health care services; relevant information on the status of adjudication, demarcation, registration and ownership of the land in question; written information exhibiting the decisions and reasons for demolition of homes and structures, the evictions, eviction notices, court orders and/or any other written authority authorizing the demolition of their homes and written information exhibiting any efforts/steps by the Respondents in providing alternative housing and/or shelter for the Petitioners.
On 28th February 2011 all the above orders were granted pending the hearing of the application inter partes. On the 20th of June 2011, the six organizations were granted leave to join as amici in the case. To date they have already filed their submission and are only waiting for the hearing date to be fixed. They are being represented by Odindo Opiata of Hakijamii. The case raises interesting issues of law particularly with respect to the positive orders being sought and the ruling is likely to have far reaching implications for the enforcement of economic and social rights under the country’s new Constitution.