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Aden Disturbances (Compensation)

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1949

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why, arising from the report of the commission of inquiry into the Aden riots, the Government of Aden have not accepted liability to pay compensation.

The Commissioner's report did not, in the opinion of my right hon. Friend, disclose a case for compensation on either legal or moral grounds. He has approved the Governor's proposal to put into effect a scheme of ex gratia assistance for rehabilitation purposes.

In view of the fact that that report shows that there was a certain negligence on the part of at least a section of the authorities in not preventing the riots which took place a year ago, as a result of which about 100 people were killed and much property was damaged, is not some responsibility vested in the authorities? Will the hon. Gentleman review his decision?

The report showed nothing of the kind. The Commissioner found that the local Government had no grounds for apprehending the outbreak which occurred.

Does it not also state in the report that a great many of the deaths and a good deal of the damage which was done were due to mistakes made by British officers in charge of the troops? Will my hon. Friend make the report available to Members, so that they can make up their own minds on the justice and equity of this matter?

I do not accept the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question.