HC Deb 08 December 1954 vol 535 cc944-6
32. Mr. Manuel

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what action has been taken to provide for the children of persons detained during the "Anvil" Operation in Nairobi.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The number of children in Nairobi separated from their parents and in need of care is estimated at 500. The "Save the Children Fund" has opened a "Place of Safety" where children will be cared for until they can be returned to their parents or relatives. Where that is not possible, the Missions will provide for their care.

I wish to express my very real gratitude for the important work which various voluntary societies have so generously undertaken.

Mr. Manuel

The right hon. Gentleman is, of course, aware that the Government were committed to do all they could to look after these children because of Operation "Anvil." Is he certain there are not now numbers of children whose parents have been taken away, because of Operation "Anvil," and who are still left unattended? From my information I am not certain that what could be done is being done by our representatives there.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

This is a great human problem, and I can frankly tell the House I looked into it with close personal care when I was in Nairobi. In large part, due to the vigorous action of Mr. Havelock, a member of the Council of Ministers in Kenya, real progress is being made. Last week I had a talk with Brigadier Boyce, Secretary of the "Save the Children Fund," and I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are fully conscious of this need, and it is now under control. The whole problem of juvenile delinquency in Nairobi is a very real one still.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is the Secretary of State aware that the "Save the Children Fund" has very heavy commitments in many parts of the world, including Korea; and will the Government give a subsidy to the Fund for doing this job, which the Government should have done?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Her Majesty's Government have rightly given £11¼ million in gifts or loans to Kenya. This situation is clearly one of the social consequences of the emergency, and I am quite certain that no shortage of funds will stand in the way of proper work along these lines.

Mr. Wilfred Paling

May we take it that that answer means that the care of these children is left completely to voluntary societies?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

If the hon. Member had been listening to what I said he would have known that progress has been largely due to the work of a Minister of the Kenya Government.