Memorial to the Victims of Torture and Ill-Treatment during the Colonial Era (1952-1963)’



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Memorial to the Victims of Torture and Ill-Treatment during the Colonial Era (1952-1963)’
This memorial is a symbol of reconciliation between the British Government, the Mau Mau, and all those who suffered during the Emergency Period (1952-1960).
On 23rd June 2009, the Mau Mau War Veterans filed a case in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. Following an out-of-court settlement, the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, announced on 6th June 2013, that the British Government would support the establishment of this memorial as part of the settlement.
This memorial was inaugurated on 12 September 2015 by Mau Mau War Veterans, Kenya Human Rights Commission and British High Commission together with Government of Kenya.
The State of Emergency
A State of Emergency was declared by the Colonial Administration on 21 October 1952. During the Emergency many Kenyans were detained without trial, and some were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment in detention camps run by the Colonial Administration. Many were killed. The majority were Kenyan.
In 1960 the State of Emergency was lifted, and negotiations began over a new constitution. On 12 December 1963 Kenyans achieved independence and Jomo Kenyatta became the first Prime Minister and later President.
The Mau Mau Movement
The Kenya Land and Freedom Army (KLFA), popularly referred to as “Mau Mau”, was a national movement that opposed British colonial rule in the 1950s. The Mau Mau waged an armed struggle between 1952 and 1960 with support from across the country.
However, even after independence, the Mau Mau remained a proscribed group in Kenya until the ban was lifted by the government in 2003. At that time, the Mau Mau War Veterans Association sought compensation from the British Government for acts of torture and ill-treatment they suffered during the emergency period.
Reconciliation
The British Government understands the pain and grievance felt by those who were involved in the events of the Emergency in Kenya. The British Government recognises that Kenyans were subjected to torture and other forms of ill-treatment at the hands of the colonial administration. The British Government sincerely regrets that these abuses took place. Torture and ill-treatment are abhorrent violations of human dignity which we unreservedly condemn.
Although we should never forget history and indeed must always seek to learn from it, we should also look to the future, strengthening a relationship that will promote the security and prosperity of both our nations.”
British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, 6 June 2013
Mau Mau Veterans believe that nations, tribes, and human beings are interdependent and that each one of them is a condition of the others’ existence.
Mau Mau Veterans concur with the British Foreign Secretary’s statement on the result of the out-of- court settlement agreement, and sincerely believe in reconciliation for a better future relationship with the British people and their Government’’
Shujaa Hon. Dr. Gitu Wa Kahengeri, OGW,

Secretary General, Mau Mau War Veterans Association, 6 June 2013
Statue Description – The Freedom Fighters
Men and women fighting in the armed struggle operated mainly from the Mount Kenya and Aberdare forests. They would be brought food by other women who also formed part of the struggle. As the food, covered and in a kiondo, was handed over, both looked away so that later they could not identify each other, even under torture.




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