HC Deb 18 May 1927 vol 206 cc1189-90

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his atention has been called to the attacks by bandits on Mr. A. W. Owen, a British subject resident in Abyssinia, and to the failure of the Abyssinian authorities to bring the criminals to justice; whether any report on the subject has been received from His Majesty's Minister; whether it is a fact that Abyssinians who commit crimes against British subjects or protected persons are rarely, if ever, brought to justice and what, if any, instructions in this connection have been issued to His Majesty's Minister at Addis Ababa?


Yes, Sir; the facts are as described in the first part of the question and reports have been received from His Majesty's Minister at Addis Ababa. Mr. Bentinck has made repeated representations to the Abyssinian Government in Mr. Owen's case, relying on Article 1 of the Anglo-Abyssinian Treaty of May, 1897, which lays down that the subjects of or persons protected by each of the contracting parties shall have full liberty to come and go and engage in commerce in the territories of the others enjoying the protection of the Government within whose territory they are. Up to the present, however, it does not seem that any successful steps have been taken to bring the criminals to justice. With regard to the third part of this question, His Majesty's Government view with growing concern the apparent immunity enjoyed by murderers and other criminals guilty of offences against British subjects in Abyssinia, and will not cease to urge upon the Ethiopian Government the necessity of bringing them to justice.