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King Charles III visits Kenya amid calls for apology for colonial violence

King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, shown here on a visit to Northern Ireland in May, arrived in Kenya Tuesday for a visit as human rights advocates call for an apology over brutal violence committed by British forces prior to Kenya's independence. File Photo by The Royal Family/UPI
King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla, shown here on a visit to Northern Ireland in May, arrived in Kenya Tuesday for a visit as human rights advocates call for an apology over brutal violence committed by British forces prior to Kenya's independence. File Photo by The Royal Family/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 31 (UPI) -- King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla arrived in Kenya Tuesday amid calls for British officials to apologize for the brutal repression that was conducted against Kenyans during the Mau Mau rebellion that fought for independence from Britain.

During the rebellion, also known as the "emergency," which lasted from 1952 to 1960, about 90,000 Kenyans were killed and over 1 million were put in detention camps that have been compared to concentration camps.

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The Kenya Human Rights Commission demanded an apology from King Charles III over the abuses of the British colonial regime that ruled Kenya until independence in 1963.

"We call upon the king, on behalf of the British government, to issue an unconditional and unequivocal public apology (as opposed to the very cautious, self-preserving and protective statements of regrets) for the brutal and inhuman treatment inflicted on Kenyan citizens," the commission said in a statement.

Ahead of the visit, Charles III's deputy Chris Fitzgerald said the king would "acknowledge more painful aspects of the United Kingdom and Kenya's shared history" and that he would "take time to deepen his understanding of the wrongs suffered this period by people."

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The British government paid out about $24 million in 2013 to settle claims in a class-action lawsuit brought by over 5,000 Kenyans. The British government also issued a statement of regret at the time but did not formally apologize.

Charles and Camilla arrived in Kenya Tuesday and were met by Kenyan President William Ruto and first lady Rachel Ruto at Nairobi's State House.

Charles also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior, which honors those who died in Kenya's independence struggle, and is scheduled to appear at a state banquet.

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