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Hola Camp, Kenya (Report)

Part of LONDON COUNTY COUNCIL (GENERAL POWERS) BILL [Lords] (By Order) – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th July 1959.

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Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire 12:00 am, 27th July 1959

Certainly, Sir. I think the unhappy fact must be faced that in not carrying out the Cowan Plan in the form it should have been carried out the responsibility lies primarily on the officer who was the subject of the Disciplinary Inquiry. There were a series of extenuating circumstances, which involved others, and I have dealt with them. Here I must say that I hope the House will remember particularly the difficult circumstances of the detention camps in Kenya, even though they have been reduced in size now to a mere fraction of what they were before and that there will be understanding and sympathy for Mr. Sullivan in the misfortune that has come to him, the anxieties and sadness of which will remain with him for the rest of his life. I think the House should remember that in justice to someone who has done loyal service hitherto.

The hon. and learned Member for Ipswich asked me certain questions about detention in Kenya, Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. They were not very detailed questions. They were generally directed to the query as to whether I thought that these sort of regulations were appropriate in the modern age. Of course detention without trial is a desperate remedy for a desperate situation. All Governments in the United Kingdom in recent years have had to practise it. I take it that when right hon. Members opposite have defended detention without trial from this Box they have disliked the task as much as I do tonight or on any other occasion. The basis of its introduction and continuation is that a desperate situation exists. Let justice be done, though the heavens fall is often said, but, if the heavens do fall, justice cannot be done for there is no one to enforce it and no peace in which it can take effect. That is why it is widely recognised, for instance, in Article 15 of the Declaration of Human Rights, that circumstances can exist the exigencies of which strictly require and justify some abrogation from the rights of the individual. I can assure the hon. and learned Member that I am as anxious as he to see detention without trial brought as swiftly as possible to an end, whether in Kenya, in Northern Rhodesia, in Nyasaland or anywhere else, but I must have regard to the safety and security of the State.

I have said earlier that the Governor had had an opportunity of consulting Mr. Fairn, and I quoted some words which Mr. Fairn had used about the difficulty of returning detainees to their homes until they had been thoroughly rehabilitated. I have been asked about the Fairn Report and when it will be published. The Report has been completed and is with the Government of Kenya, but they are anxious, as is invariably the practice, to publish their own recommendations and decisions along with the Report. There is nothing to hide in the Report. I hope that the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North will believe me that there is nothing to hide in the Report and nothing that I am not perfectly prepared for the House to know. I am anxious, however, to have the decisions of the Government of Kenya published at the same time.

With this careful and independent analysis before us, we shall, I believe, be able to face the future in Kenya with courage and with good hope, but it would be the height of folly to ignore the real demands of society as a whole in Kenya or Northern Rhodesia or Nyasaland and to risk its complete upset once more by the release of the remaining detainees, many of whom in Kenya are really convicted criminals whose sentences have been suspended. There will be an opportunity tomorrow to deal in detail with detention—