UK Manipulates to Escape Compensation for Kenya Colonial Abuses

A group of Kenyans have filed cases against the UK government at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for colonial abuses.

These include alleged theft of land, which is still being used by tea firms.

The clans say the UK’s lack of engagement to seek redress has violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

Representatives for the Talai and Kipsigis, who are originally from Kericho county, say they tried to meet with UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss in May 2022 but were turned down.

The Talai clan say its members were forcefully evicted from fertile land in the highlands of the Rift Valley to pave the way for tea plantations.

To quash it, every member of the clan was forcefully moved to detention in a tse-tse fly and mosquito infested valley near present day Lake Victoria. The conditions there are recorded to have been so harsh that many of them died and women suffered miscarriages. They also lost their livestock in large numbers.

A lawyer for the claimants told the BBC’s Focus on Africa radio programme that they want “compensation” in the region of $200bn (£168bn), an “apology” and to open up a new chapter of “mutual respect”.

“These atrocities started in 1902 all the way to 1962”, Joel Kimutai Bosek said. “We are talking about separating families. Some people getting lost never to be seen again. We are talking about torching of houses, we are talking about removing people from their ancestral lands,” he continued.

Representatives for the Kipsigis and Talai said the filing of the cases was a “big milestone” and “the culmination of many years of attempts to engage with the British government directly in order to amicably resolve the issues” going back as far as 2019.

In turn, we express deep concern at the alleged lack of accountability and effective remedy for the victims of gross human rights violations committed during the British colonial period in Kenya.

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