Africans sue UK over colonial-era abuses — Analysis
Kenyans, who have been forced to leave their lands by British colonial rule, filed an appeal with a high-ranking European court
A group of Kenyan activists has filed a lawsuit against the UK at the European Court of Human Rights. Lawyers representing peoples forced off their land in Kenya’s Rift Valley argue the UK has violated the European Convention of Human Rights, to which it is a signatory, by consistently ignoring complaints lodged by the victims of colonial rule.
“The UK government has ducked and dived, and sadly avoided every possible avenue of redress,”Joel Kimutai Bosek represented the Kipsigis (Talai) peoples. “We have no choice but to proceed to court for our clients so that history can be righted.”
Between the 19th and 22nd centuries, Kenya was ruled by the British Empire. In the beginning of the 20th century, the Rift Valley residents were expelled from their land. Kericho, which is the main town of the Valley, has become a key tea-growing location. Multinational corporations have made it a top destination for their operations.
“Today, some of the world’s most prosperous tea companies, like Unilever, Williamson Tea, Finlay’s, and Lipton occupy and farm these lands and continue to use them to generate considerable profits,”In a statement, the plaintiffs stated.
Previous to this, Talai and the Kipsigis took their cause before the UN. There, a special investigative committee expressed concern. “serious concern” last year over London’s failure to acknowledge its share of responsibility or issue an apology for colonial-era abuses. Over 100,000 colonial victims or their descendants signed the UN complaint. They demanded an apology and compensation for land ceded to white settlements.
Paul Chepkwony the Kericho County governor, praised Paul Chepkwony for filing the case to the ECHR. He said that the process was “amazing.” “a historic day”The entire area.
“We have taken all reasonable and dignified steps. But the UK Government has given us the cold shoulder … we hope for those who have suffered for too long that their dignity will be restored,”Chepkwony said.
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