Declaration by the EU Presidency on Zimbabwe

The EU would like to express its concern with the increasing incidents pertaining to the arbitrary arrest, inhuman treatment and torture of members of the opposition and civil society organisations in Zimbabwe. Since 1 January 2003 there have been 7 arrests of MDC MPs and several more of other MDC officials and supporters. There are credible and substantiated reports of the inhuman treatment and torture of one MDC MP Mr. Job Sikhala, a human rights lawyer Mr Gabriel Shumba and 3 members of the Harare combined resident association and others arrested with them. There are further reports that other opposition officials have been tortured in police custody over this period.
The Mayor of Harare Mr Elias Mudzuri has also been systematically harassed in carrying out his duties by the police and army units breaking up of a meeting with Harare residents most recently on the 29 January with tear gas and indiscriminate assault.

The EU is equally concerned by the recent incidents of violence in the local election campaign in the Harare constituency of Kuwadzana by youth of both political parties, which have led to the death of Tunderay Mangwiro, a Zanu-pf member.

Both political parties are called on to ensure that the forthcoming by- elections take place in full respect of the principle of free and fair elections.

The European union is following closely the legal procedures in the trial of the head of the main opposition party Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, being fully aware of the relevance and the importance of the outcome for the future of democratic pluralism in this country.

The EU calls on the government of Zimbabwe, which has an obligation to ensure the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms to end all harassment, intimidation and violence against the opposition and civil society. The EU calls on the MDC to also show restraint from violence.

The EU calls on the government and opposition to open a serious dialogue on a joint approach to overcoming the current overwhelming problems facing Zimbabwe on the political, humanitarian, social and economic fronts.

The Acceding Countries Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia, the Associated Countries Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey and the EFTA countries [Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway], members of the European Economic Area align themselves with this declaration.