Baroness Sugg, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, has provided the following answer to your written parliamentary question (HL9003):
Question by Lord Alton of Liverpool:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of human rights abuses on the Kakuzi farming estate in Kenya; and what plans they have to discuss these reports with Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Lidl and Marks and Spencer’s, who have all acquired avocado crops from Kakuzi, including regarding their obligations under the Modern Slavery Act 2015. (HL9003)
Tabled on: 12 October 2020
We are concerned by reports of human rights abuses on the Kakuzi farming estate in Kenya. We take all allegations of human rights abuses seriously and are closely following the investigation by the Kenyan authorities. The UK has longstanding work with Kenya to strengthen accountability and human rights. We will also continue to use our voice in multilateral fora to hold Kenya to its human rights obligations, for example at the Universal Periodic Review of Kenya conducted at the UN Human Rights Council earlier this year.
Officials at the British High Commission in Nairobi will discuss the reports of human rights abuses on the Kakuzi farming estate at upcoming meetings with Human Rights donor groups in Nairobi. The UK supermarkets concerned have all suspended trade with Kakuzi pending the findings of their own and Kenyan authorities’ investigations.
The UK is committed to eradicating all forms of modern slavery. Under the ‘Transparency in Supply Chains’ provision in the Modern Slavery Act, all large businesses in the UK with a turnover of £36 million or more are required to publish an annual transparency statement detailing the steps they have taken to prevent modern slavery from occurring in their business and supply chains. This enables consumers, investors and campaigners alike to hold businesses to account. The UK Government engages regularly with business and civil society to ensure we strengthen our collective response to modern slavery and we have committed to strengthen the transparency in supply chains including specified reporting topics, introducing a single reporting deadline and extending the requirement to the public sector.
Date and time of answer: 26 Oct 2020 at 12:50.