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Kenyan tribes have taken the UK government to the European Court of Justice over colonial crimes

Kenyan tribes have taken the UK government to the European Court of Justice over colonial crimes

Kenya has taken the UK government to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Talai and Kipsigis tribes are seeking £168 billion in compensation and an apology for crimes committed in Kericho in western Kenya – one of the world’s leading tea-producing regions.

More than 100,000 people from these groups were ruthlessly evicted by the British Army between 1895 and 1963, making way for lucrative settler-owned tea estates, leaving many unable to return to their ancestral homes and lands.

The groups argue that this “cruel and unfair” treatment breached the UK’s international obligations.

Rodney Dixon QC, lawyers for the groups Joel Kimutai Bossek and his legal team presented the claims on behalf of the victims at the court in Strasbourg, France. The appeal will be considered by the court in due course.

The legal request comes weeks after the Kenyan royal family sought reparations for the atrocities after the British government refused to meet with the victims.

Kericho County Governor Professor Paul Kibrono Chepkwoni supported the move saying: “This is a historic day. Kericho County Government has been fighting for years to seek forgiveness, justice and redress for what happened to our people.

“We have taken all reasonable and dignified steps. But the UK government has given us a cold shoulder.

“Our people have no choice but to take it to court to fulfill their international obligations, and we hope that the long-term victims will regain their dignity.”

A farmer harvests tea leaves with scissors in a plantation in the hills of Kericho, Kenya.

(Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty)

Professor Sepkwoni, who is due to leave this week, added: “We must hold this case until all colonial wrongs are acknowledged and reparated.”

Victims were also supported Make presentations to the United Nations, special rapporteurs called on the UK to investigate human rights abuses and offer remedies, including amnesty and reparations. But the call was ignored.

Joel Kimuthai Posek said: “We are seeking the prestigious European Court of Human Rights to recognize injustices and accountability.

“The UK government has unfortunately avoided all avenues of redress. We have no choice but to go to court on behalf of our clients so the story can be put right.

Senior survivor seeking redress, Kibor Seruiyot Nangazura, pictured when he was about 17 years old, and members of his clan are being held at the Kericho Detention Center by British colonial authorities.

(Nikita Bernardi)

“We still call on the British government to find a constructive solution that respects the interests of all and the rule of law.”

Approximately 200,000 acres of stolen land is occupied by renowned multinationals such as Unilever, Williamson Tea and Finlays, which produce tea for millions of people.

I’m talking The Independent In May, Dixon Citini, the victim in his seventies and representing in the case, described the enormous struggle his quest for justice endured.

“It’s very difficult to feel that we’ve been ignored for so long by the British government for the terrible things they’ve done to us,” he said.

“We’ve been fighting for our voices to be heard for years and if they think we’re going to forget what they’ve done, they’re wrong.

“We will continue to fight for them to speak to us, and we thank our lawyers for continuing this fight. We cannot truly feel free until they recognize what they have done; this is the only way forward.”

The Ministry of External Affairs was sought for comment.

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