Africans accuse the UK of crimes from the colonial era

Under British colonial authority, Kenyans who were evicted from their land filed a lawsuit in a leading European court.

On Tuesday, a group of Kenyan activists brought a complaint before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) against the UK. In Kenya's Rift Valley, those who have been evicted from their land claim that the UK has breached the European Convention on Human Rights, to which it is a signatory, by repeatedly dismissing complaints made by those who were subjected to colonial authority.

Joel Kimutai Bosek, who speaks for the Kipsigis and Talai peoples, has claimed that the UK government has "ducked and dove" and regrettably avoided all avenues of redress. "To put the past right, we have no alternative but to represent our clients in court."

In charge of Kenya from the late 19th century until 1962 was the British Empire. In the early 20th century, the inhabitants of the Rift Valley have driven off their farms. Today, a significant tea-growing zone is located around Kericho, the largest town in the Valley, and is farmed by global corporations.

In a statement, the plaintiffs claimed that some of the most successful tea firms in the world, including Unilever, Williamson Tea, Finlay's, and Lipton, still own and grow these properties and use them to make substantial profits.

The Kipsigis and Talai had already brought their matter to the UN, where a special investigation panel last year expressed "deep concern" regarding London's unwillingness to accept its share of blame or issue an apology for colonial-era abuses. More than 100,000 victims of colonial authority or their descendants filed a complaint to the UN calling for an apology and compensation for their land being given to white settlers.

Paul Chepkwony, the outgoing governor of Kericho County, applauded the filing of the complaint with the ECHR, calling it "a momentous day" for the entire area.

"We have behaved honorably and rationally at all times. However, the UK government has ignored us. "We hope that people who have suffered for too long will have their dignity restored," said Chepkwony.

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