HC Deb 22 June 1925 vol 185 cc1062-3
29. Lieut.-Colonel HENDERSON

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when the custom of the conscription of native labour for road or railway construction was first sanctioned by ordinance in any of the Colonies or Protectorates of Africa; whether it was extended at any time last year; whether he is aware that the custom is specifically allowed by the League of Nations; and whether the use of compulsory labour is, in every case, limited to a maximum number of days in each year?


It has not been possible in the time at my disposal to ascertain the date of the first ordinance of the kind; in the case of Kenya the power was first regulated by law in 1920. No alteration of the law was made last year. The answer to the last two parts of the question is in the affirmative, except that in Sierra Leone there appears to be no legal limitation on the number of days' work which a paramount chief can demand, though no doubt in practice it is limited by custom to a reasonable number. I may add that Papers on this matter, so far as it relates to Kenya, will be laid before Parliament at any early date.