HC Deb 10 April 2002 vol 383 cc120-1 10.15 pm
Fiona Mactaggart (Slough)

I rise to present the petition of my constituent, Mr. Leslie Allen, the honorary secretary and founder of the National Ex-Prisoner of War Association, and of other ex-prisoners of war who were held in German camps. In the petition, Mr. Allan declares that he was taken prisoner and held captive by Nazi Germany between May 1940 and May 1945; that, during that period, he suffered ill-treatment contrary to the Hague Convention on the Laws and Customs of War on Land; that his fellow petitioners suffered similar ill-treatment during their captivity; that a letter to him from the German embassy, dated 23rd January 2002, acknowledges this fact in stating that 'many prisoners of war were not treated by the Nazi regime in accordance with international law, and as a result suffered damage'.

That fact is also acknowledged in a letter to me from the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, my hon. Friend the Member for Kirkcaldy (Dr. Moonie), who says that it is accepted that there were cases of deliberate ill-treatment of our servicemen held by the Germans and that during the course of the war, the possibility of subsequent claims against the detaining power was recorded. My hon. Friend goes on to state that the German Government have set up a new scheme to compensate forced labourers and others from concentration camps, but the laws governing that scheme specifically exclude prisoners of war, and no compensation out of the reparations which the allied powers have received has been paid to ex-prisoners of war who were held in German camps in respect of the ill-treatment that they suffered when held prisoner.

The petitioner therefore requests that the House of Commons urge the Government to review its policy on the compensation of ex-prisoners of war ill-treated in German camps, and to accord them equal treatment with ex-prisoners of war held in Japanese camps who have now received compensation. And the Petitioner remains, etc.

To lie upon the Table.

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