The United Kingdom’s supermarket giant Tesco has suspended the supply of avocados from Kenya’s Kakuzi over claims of rape, murder, and false imprisonment by their security guards.
A case has been filed in a UK court on behalf of 79 Kenyans who are accusing Kakuzi of hiring security guards who have been engineering and overseeing the worst human rights abuses since 2009.
It is claimed that more than 10 women have been raped by the security guards at Kakuzi, men tortured and killed, and tens of others held against their will for days with cries for help falling on deaf ears.
The move by Tesco came after a law firm Leigh Day said Sunday it had initiated legal action against UK firm Camellia, whose subsidiary runs the site for gross human rights violations that have been going on under the watch of the managers.
Kakuzi is a major supplier of avocado to major supermarkets in the United Kingdom including Sainsbury and Tesco. It is expected that other supermarkets are likely to follow by suspending their contracts with Kakuzi.
“Any form of human rights abuse in our supply chain is unacceptable. We have been working closely with the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), alongside other ETI members, to investigate this issue and ensure measures have been taken to protect workers. However, in light of additional allegations published, we have suspended all supply whilst we urgently investigate,” said Tesco through their spokesperson.
Camellia, a global conglomerate that employs 78,000 people worldwide, said in a statement it bought a 50.7 percent stake in Kakuzi in the 1990s but that it did not have “operational or managerial control”.
“Kakuzi is investigating the allegations so that if there has been any wrongdoing, those responsible for it can be held to account and if appropriate, safeguarding processes can be improved,” it added.