A report by Partner Africa confirms major human rights violations at the Del Monte farm, a US multimillionaire food giant.

Major human rights violations in Kenya Del Monte farms, report finds

According to the conclusions of an unpublished report by Partner Africa, major human rights violations are being reported at a vast Del Monte pineapple farm in Kenya from violence to numerous deaths, four of whom are men whose bodies were found in a river over Christmas after allegedly attempting to steal pineapples.

The Guardian reported claims that the company’s employees are working with a cartel of thieves and giving them information, as the farm has a major issue with organized pineapple theft and losing crops to gangs on a wide scale.

The deaths seem to be a result of company employees using extreme violence against the pineapple thieves. Del Monte guards have been putting ordinary bystanders at risk of being harassed and arrested by the guards in light of suspecting them as potential thieves. In one incident, a group whose minibus broke down near the farm in 2021 stated that they were injured due to attacks by the guards using wooden clubs.

In November, the body of Peter Mutuku Mutsiya was found in a dam on a Del Monte farm four days after his friends stated he had gone there to steal, however, Del Monte claimed that he died by drowning.

Tesco, Waitrose, and British Retail Consortium stated that any behavior that falls short of ethical standards will not be tolerated, prompting a thorough investigation regarding the deaths and violations at Del Monte. Also, the Ethical Trading Initiative believes that Partner Africa’s report is credible.

In parallel, human rights organizations such as Amnesty, the Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations(SOMO), and Kenya Human Rights Commission, all expressed concern about the way Del Monte and the supermarkets are handling the situation.

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Del Monte v. Kenya

A rights group and community activists initiated legal proceedings in December against Del Monte for alleged killings and assaults at its pineapple plantation near Nairobi, the lawsuit filed at the High Court in Kenya reads.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of individuals who allege attacks by Del Monte security guards and the relatives of the claimed victims. Del Monte, which employs 6,000 people in Kenya, has previously faced accusations of abuse and violence.

The legal action argues that Del Monte has been engaged in a protracted land ownership dispute with the local community, which claims the company’s land as its ancestral home. According to the lawsuit, tensions escalate as locals traverse the expansive 10,000-acre plantation, resulting in confrontations with Del Monte’s security personnel.

In pursuit of compensation and punitive damages, the lawsuit calls upon the High Court to declare that the actions of the respondents violate human rights, environmental laws, and constitutional provisions.

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