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KENYA COLONY: WHITE PAPER
CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE FOREIGN OFFICE
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Quarterly Notes. Domestic The Committee has written to the Colonial Office, Slavery in expressing appreciation of the action of His Majesty's Sierra Leone Government in dealing with the question of domestic
slavery in the Protectorate. Slavery in Reports were made in 1923 of slavery and human Burma. sacrifice on the north-east frontier of Burma in un
administered territory. In January, 1925, the Governor made an adventurous journey to the Hukawng valley, and interviewed the leading chiefs, warning them that slavery must be stopped. The chiefs, it is said, had “politely defended ” these practices and refused to stop them. The Governor promised to give advances to slaves to purchase their freedom, and announced that a British officer would make an annual tour of inspection.
In December last a Deputy Commissioner visited the valley and again met the chiefs, this time with a good result, for it is now officially announced that all the slaves in the Hukawng valley, numbering 3,487, have been released.
Detention Camps in Kenya Colony. A further letter has been addressed to the Colonial Office on this subject on behalf of the Committee :TO THE UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE COLONIES.
14th January, 1926. SIR-I have the honour to acknowledge your letter No. 48015/25 of the 30th of November, 1925, on the Bill for establishing Detention
Camps in Kenya Colony, which I have brought to the notice of the Committee of this Society... The Committee observes that the Secretary of State considers that in certain respects the provisions of the Bill are capable of amendment, but that he is satisfied that there is no reason to apprehend that the scheme will be misused for the purpose of securing unpaid labour, and therefore, the Bill has not been disallowed.
In regard to the last point, the Committee notes that in paragraph 2 of the Circular issued by the Colonial Secretary on the 20th of May, 1924, more than a year before the text of the Bill was published in the Official Gazette, the provision of“ a useful labour supply to Government is named as being one of the primary motives for the institution of Detention Camps. The point is further emphasised in paragraph 6, wherein Mr. Denham states that the labour of those detained in Camps could be utilised by the Uganda Railway and the Public Works Department, etc. In view of these statements the Committee is unable to regard this interpretation of the Bill without uneasiness, particularly in view of the vague phrase " Public Works Department, etc."
It is observed that in the Native Punishment Commission's Report, paragraph 5, to which your letter calls attention, the Commission recommends that as imprisonment for many technical offences is a great mistake, fines should ordinarily be imposed, and only in default of fines is it suggested that periods of detention, in places where those confined would not be associated with criminals, should be inflicted.
Again, in paragraph 17, the Report states that much more use might be made of the First Offender's Provisions in the Criminal Procedure ordinance, and that comparatively few convicts have been bound over. It would be interesting to know to what extent the imposition and careful collection of fines has been carried out, and whether the recommendation for the probation and binding over of convicts has been followed.
It appears to the Committee that the Bill of 1925 in these and other respects goes far beyond the recommendations of the Commission of 1921, specifying, as it does in the Schedule, some thirty Ordinances, offences against which may be punished by detention in a Camp for a period which, apparently, is left to the discretion of the Native Tribunal and the Revising Officer. In addition to this the Governor and Council may add to the Schedule other Ordinances or Laws, for offences against which a sentence of detention may be inflicted.
The Committee considers that in view of the fact that the detention of technical offenders is admittedly an experiment, it would have been preferable to institute it on a smaller scale, and only to empower the Court to award such sentences where the methods of binding over the offender to probation and/or of fining him have already been tried and failed.
In regard to the payment for work done in Detention Camps, we note that the proposal in paragraph 5 of the Circular of 1924,—that a small