Friday, November 10, 2006

Corruption in Kenya is increasing Britain's exposure to drug trafficking and terrorism

BBC News:

The East African nation's "porous" borders meant groups such as al-Qaeda see it as being "wide open", he added.

Kenya was also being targeted by drug cartels, bringing in heroin and cocaine which ended up in Britain, Mr Howells said during an official visit.

Kenyan ministers deny that corruption is making the country a "soft touch".

Mr Howells, who visited the capital Nairobi and the port of Mombasa, said: "People can be bought, right from the person who works at the docks in Mombasa up to the government."

He added: "This weakness has been recognised by drug-traffickers and probably by terrorists too."

Several drug seizures in the UK this year have come via Kenya.

Gang Violence Rises in Nairobi Slums

KENYA: Thousands flee clashes in Nairobi slum

Africa's largest slum: where youngsters play among bags full of raw sewage

Water apartheid and flying toilets

Britain says Kenya corruption invites terrorists


At 2:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The State has an obligation to prevent, investigate and punish violations of human rights. These include restitution, compensation and rehabilitation of victims. Whenever violations occur, the Government is obligated to ensure victims' compensation. This is made clearer in the Velasquez Rodriguez Compensation Judgment, Inter-American Court of Human rights (1989) regarding the duty to make moral and material compensation. With this judgment, Honduras was forced to take the reparatory duty.

In regard to the Mau Mau War of independence, Britain not only failed to pursue criminal justice and instead engaged in massive cover up, but it also refused to enforce human rights norms. This led to loss of citizens' protection rights.

Professor Caroline Elkins, the author of Britain's Gulag: The Brutal End of Empire in Kenya, says: "Nearly the entire Kikuyu population of 1.5 million people was detained by the colonial government under deplorable conditions. British colonial officials tortured, starved and murdered tens of thousands. And when they decolonised in 1963, they went to great lengths to try to cover up the whole affair".

When protective duty is abrogated, subsequent curative justice is shouldered by successive governments and generations. On Mau Mau case that the war veterans will file in London, the current and subsequent British governments are not just being asked to publicly acknowledge violations and compensation for loss of life, dignity and property, but it is obliged to take full responsibility and ultimate liability.

For this case brings into sharp focus the question of State-sanctioned impunity policy and amnesty versus State obligation to citizens' rights protection. Clearly, any government can hide, but it cannot run way from responsibility and accountability of violations of a predecessor regime.

The Mau Mau brutality, which involved physical and psychological torture and inhuman degrading punishment, was inflicted upon Kenyans by servants and agents of the United Kingdom government. The acts, which took place on various dates between 1954 and 1959, were widespread use of systemic torture by the United Kingdom on thousands of civilians in violation of domestic and international law.

Article 7 of Rome Statute (International Criminal Court Charter) defines crimes against humanity as part of a "widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population". The 1949 Geneva Conventions demand reparations for violations of civilian rights. The survivors of British brutality are demanding answers.

The best we expect is that the Mau Mau case set for hearing next year in British courts will be fair and effective in ensuring that British government does acknowledge and made to make amends for heinous crimes against humanity committed against Kenyans.

In 1952, Germany agreed not only to just pay victims of Nazi persecution, but also the new State of Israel nation-reparation. The Mau Mau victims seek compensation for damages for the personal injuries based on the law of tort of negligence. The United Kingdom government is liable not only because of the faults of the colonial administration, but also directly for its own failure to take any or adequate steps to prevent the widespread use of torture that it plainly knew was perpetrated in its name.

According to Prof Ruti Teitel in the book Transitional Justice, while referring to Joel Filartiga's death by torture in Paraguay and the subsequent case filed in United States of America court courtesy of Alien Tort Act, official torture is a violation of the "law of nations" and that "for purpose of civil liability, the torturer has become hostis humani generic, an enemy of all mankind".

In the Mau Mau case, British torturers were acting in their official capacity under State law and policy and their actions violated the law of nations. Britain needs to acknowledge the virus of excessive ideology and take full responsibility for what happened to clearly understand her citizens' violations against other human beings in that era.

Kenya is a country that is profoundly undemocratic because of things like these being swept under the carpet. Mau Mau case is significant in helping us not to be afraid to open our past. Kenya has to find a formulae of continuously keep interrogating its past events and reflect on the collective memory of its citizens. Those who say that the discussion of history will divide us or keep us from performing our current duties are wrong. The more we remember what happened, the better we can fight to ensure that it never happens again. Reparatory justice is also about reconciling corrective measures (backward looking) and prospective (forward-looking) state transformation.

Reparation restores victims' dignity and corrects the derogation from equal protection under the law. In paying reparation, Britain shall in a way repair shame and humiliation inflicted on innocent Mau Mau victims, including restoring their reputation. The core reason why Germany agreed to pay reparation to Israel is moral debt. She needed legitimacy to rebuild moral capital. The cost of not exercising material and political apology to victims of state sanctioned widespread torture against civilian population create a catastrophic moral deficit and destroy state moral credibility. Britain's successive governments (and intergenerational responsibility) have failed to demonstrate commitment to show this apology. This raises real concern on United Kingdom's moral credibility and genuineness in articulating human rights discourse. Britain cannot continue to claim a stand in high moral ground without addressing historical injustices carried out by her citizens.


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