Lamu Seaport and Transport Project

SAVE Lamu, a consortium of local organizations on the Kenyan coast, appealed to the High Court of Kenya in a case asserting that the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Project violated international law. The project’s plans included construction of a large-scale seaport at Manda Bay as well as rail lines, oil pipelines, and a refinery in Lamu, Kenya – all of which would have detrimentally impacted the coastal environment as well as the 4,000 people living in Lamu Town.

CIEL, with the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (GI-ESCR) and Katiba Institute, intervened with an amicus curiae brief before the High Court of Kenya to defend the community’s economic, social, and cultural rights. The failure to conduct proper environmental and social impact assessments, and the failure to obtain the free, prior, and informed consent of the communities affected by this project presented clear evidence of a violation of the right to a healthy environment.

In 2012, SAVE Lamu submitted a petition to the High Court of Kenya.  Beyond reminding officials that UNESCO deemed Lamu a World Heritage Site, the petition also pleaded that the government abandon all plans for the port, as its construction would devastate the local ecosystem, economy, and culture. The Court proceedings are ongoing and decisions remain pending.