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UN Special Rapporteurs Express Serious Concern about Colonial Human Rights Abuses in Kericho County, Kenya


Following the submission of a formal complaint on behalf of the victims by Rodney Dixon KC, Aidan Ellis and Anne Coulon (instructed by JK Bosek & Associates, Nairobi, and the Governor of Kericho and Bomet Counties), six UN Special Rapporteurs sent a formal communication to the UK Government to remind the UK of its obligation to ensure justice, truth, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence in relation to human rights violations committed in Kenya during the colonial era. The Special Rapporteurs expressed serious concern about the lack of accountability or effective remedies for the victims, including the lack of reparations.

The UK Government did not respond formally to the UN Special Rapporteurs. The Communication will now be presented to the UN Human Rights Council.

During the pre-colonial and colonial era in Kenya, the Kipsigis and Talai peoples were progressively evicted from fertile land in Kericho County to make way for European settlers. The Kipsigis and Talai were forcibly displaced and made to live in overcrowded and poorly resourced reserves. The Talai peoples were deported and internally exiled to Gwasi, where living conditions were devastatingly harsh.

The conclusions of the UN Special Rapporteurs build on earlier findings by the Kenyan National Land Commission. In 2018 Counsel for the victims submitted an application to the National Land Commission on behalf of the victims, and represented them at hearings of the Commission. In 2019, the Kenyan National Land Commission determined that the Kipsigis and Talai peoples were victims of historical land injustices and made recommendations for reparations to the UK and Kenyan Governments.

The Kipsigis and Talai peoples of Kericho County continue to pursue their claims for truth, justice and reparations.

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Rodney Dixon KC

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