News24

Tutu slams UK over Kenyan abuse case

2012-07-16 10:24

London - Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has accused Britain of neglecting its human rights duties over a case brought by Kenyans allegedly abused by British colonial officials in the 1950s, The Times reported Monday.

The case of three elderly Kenyans who claim to have been tortured during the Mau Mau uprising begins at London's High Court on Monday.

Britain contends it is not legally liable for the alleged abuses saying responsibility was transferred to the Kenyan government upon independence in 1963.

In a letter sent to the British government six months ago, Tutu warned that Britain's "reliance on legal technicality" would undermine its "reputation and authority as a champion for human rights", according to the paper.

The three say their brutal treatment included systematic abuse, torture, castration, rape and hard labour.

Tutu said that evidence of torture was "clear and substantial", and that Britain's reluctance to shoulder the blame was "strongly out of step with many other modern democracies that have been faced with historic allegations of abusive conduct".

The archbishop told the newspaper on Sunday that he had personally raised the issue with foreign secretary William Hague, adding it was "high time the British government showed some magnanimity and compassion."

More than 10 000 people were killed in the 1952-1960 Mau Mau uprising - with some estimates even higher.

In July 2012, the three claimants won court approval in Britain to sue the British government over the brutality they claimed they suffered in the struggle.

Britain fears the case will open a floodgate of other claims.

Comments
  • chris.debeer1 - 2012-07-16 10:57

    Jip they should fear the flood. First Genocide by use of concentration camps where his honorable Adolf Hitler learned about it was from the British.

      norton.legg - 2012-07-16 12:17

      Not entirely true, Chris. The Americans actually used concentration camps long before the British did in their Civil War, and at no point were the British camps designed to be extermination camps like the Nazis' were!

      gavin.taylor.79 - 2012-07-16 12:21

      Chris, you are very naive if you believe that the Brits invented "Concentration Camps". Imprisoning men, women & children without trial and as a means of genocide/ethnic cleansing has been used by different cultures for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. The ancient Assyrians did it, the Russians did it to the Polish, the South American tribes did similar to smaller tribes etc etc Many "sieges" of citadels, villages, towns etc in ancient times were little more than imprisonment in a concentration camp style. Just as the Brits did not invent slavery, they did not invent concentration camps. They may have perfected those ideologies, but they certainly were not the first nation to use them.

  • ricky.hammer.92 - 2012-07-16 12:51

    begging bowls out?

  • zaatheist - 2012-07-16 12:58

    I am disappointed that Tutu feels the need to comment on this issue while ignoring the current and equally, if not more, disturbing rampant Government sponsored homophobia in neighbouring Uganda when homosexuals have been threatened with the death penalty.

  • mundu.olewega - 2012-07-16 15:53

    Really? How about the atrocities committed by the Mau Mau. Thats what started it. Funny that those who were "tortured" have lived to a ripe old age. War is hell, dont start one unless you can handle the consequences.

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