§ 7. Mr. K. Robinson
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies with which Colonial Governments he has concluded consultations about the application of the International Labour Convention on the abolition of forced labour which was ratified by Her Majesty's Government in December, 1957; and on what grounds he bases his view that the byelaw of the Kiambu African District Council requiring all adult males to perform unpaid communal labour every Thursday morning for five hours is not a breach of this convention.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As regards the first part of the Question, I am not yet in a position to add to my reply to the hon. 585 Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) on 1st April. As regards the second part of the Question, which I assume refers to my reply to the supplementary question asked by the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) on 15th April, my view is based on paragraph 2 (e) of Article 2 of the 1930 Forced Labour Convention which is the only Convention on this subject at present applicable in Kenya.
§ Mr. Robinson
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are other interpretations? It is not a fact that the exclusion is of communal work of an emergency nature and not regular communal work of this kind? Is he further aware that there is a danger of the extension of this practice lending itself to considerable exploitation of the Africans? Will he have another look at the matter?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I have looked at the matter very carefully in Kenya and elsewhere. It is not a question of emergency work. If the hon. Gentleman wishes, I will give him the actual quotation in detail afterwards, but I would just say now that it refers to normal civic obligations.