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The Maoriland Worker WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1917. THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR.

Last week's daily papers contained an intimation that the system of forcibly deporting Conscientious Objectors to England "has been abandoned in favour of imprisonment, SINCE- THE BEITISH AUTHORITIES HAVE NO WISH TO BE TROUBLED WITH MEN WHO WILL NOT FIGHT." It will be remembered that when the July Labor deputation waited on Sir James Allen to protest against the Government's action in subjecting Eeligious and Socialist Objectors to deportation, and when Sir James admitted that the Imperial, authorities had never been consulted about the matter, the editor of this paper predicted: "Then . . . you'll hear about it from the Horqe Government. The authorities there have quite enough Conscientious Objectors of their own, and they are not likely to take kindly to your attempt to unload your troubles on them." That prediction has been fulfilled to the letter, and the Government owes it to the people of New Zealand to make public the reprimand it has received from the Imperial Government, for that it has been reprimanded is the only meaning we can read into the statement published in last week's dailies. It is also due to both the parents of the lads and the people generally that it shall be made known what has happened to the Eeligious, Socialist, and Irish Objectors forcibly taken to France. Have they been court-martialled and shot for refusing duty there? Or have they been returned to England and imprisoned there? It will be remembered that when an assurance was sought from Sir James Allen that these lads would not be - shot if they refused to do violence to their consciences when they reached France, he refused to give it. He made it clear, however, that the men sent from here remained under full control of the N.Z. military authorities; and, therefore, for whatever has happened to them, the N.Z. Government, and not the Imperial Government, carries the responsibility. We know that one mother has written to the Department asking for information concerning her son—one of the boys sent to France—and has so far failed to get it. WHAT GOOD PURPOSE CAN BE SERVED BY FAILING- TO LET THE BOYS' MOTHERS KNOW WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THEM? If they are now back in England, what good purpose is to be served, furthermore, by keeping them there? Common sense and every consideration of justice call for their immediate return to New Zealand. The treatment to which they were subjected during the voyage from New Zealand to Britain, in spite of Sir James Allen's, promise that they would undergo no persecution whatever, should be made the subject of a special inquiry. We might also ask Avhat good purpose is to be served by sending the Conscientious Objectors to jail in New Zealand? They are good citizens— quite as good citizens in every case as the men who jail them. They are competent workmen, and ought to be allowed to work at their occupations—as they are willing to do—in the ordinary way. There is no good reason why they should be required to work under military control, unless every other man who is unable to go to war—for physical or any other reasons—is also compelled to work under military control. And, of course, New Zealand would never agree to that. Also, there is no good reason why the Conscientious Objector should work for less than trade union wages, unless every other man in N.Z. is placed on the same footing, and every income over a soldier's wages taken for war purposes, .

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/MW19171128.2.15

Bibliographic details

The Maoriland Worker WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1917. THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR., Maoriland Worker, Volume 8, Issue 353, 28 November 1917

Word Count
592

The Maoriland Worker WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 28, 1917. THE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR. Maoriland Worker, Volume 8, Issue 353, 28 November 1917

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