European Parliament resolution on human rights in Zimbabwe

European Parliament
Texts Adopted by Parliament
Provisional Edition : 13/02/2003
Human rights in Zimbabwe

European Parliament resolution on human rights in Zimbabwe

The European Parliament,- having regard to its previous resolutions of 13 April 20001, 18 May 20002, 6 July 20003, 15 March 20014, 6 September 20015, 13 December 20016, 14 March 20027, 4 July 20028 and 5 September 20029 on the situation in Zimbabwe,

A. whereas the EU Common Position of 18 February 2002 (due to be renewed by 18 February 2003) introduced targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime in recognition of the worsening repression of the Zimbabwean population, and includes a travel ban on senior members of ZANU-PF,

B. whereas political oppression in Zimbabwe has intensified, and the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, its Secretary-General Welshman, Ncube, and Renson Gasela MP have now been put on trial in Zimbabwe on spurious charges of treason,

C. whereas Zimbabwe is no longer a democratic country, as the parliamentary, presidential and all subsequent local elections have been characterised by intimidation, repression, voting fraud and state-sponsored political violence, and fundamental human rights are systematically abused,

D. whereas 7.2 m Zimbabweans - over half the population - are on the brink of starvation, and government-controlled food is being denied to those unable to produce a ZANU-PF membership card,

E. whereas the overall economic situation is spiralling downwards with unemployment at 70%, inflation at over 100% and only 50% of the land that was once farmed in Zimbabwe actually under cultivation,

F. whereas supporters of the MDC, including MPs, who have been arrested are reporting increasingly violent police interrogation tactics, including torture such as beatings, electric shock treatment, and poisoning,

G. whereas Mugabe's youth militia are immune from prosecution despite inflicting widespread intimidation and violence on innocent civilians,

H. whereas Robert Mugabe has been invited to the Franco-African summit to be held in Paris on 19 February 2003,

I. whereas the European Parliament has consistently called for the widening and rigorous enforcement of sanctions, as well as other measures to make international action against the Mugabe regime more effective,

J. whereas forthcoming events will be crucial in terms of increasing pressure on the Mugabe regime, such as the review of Zimbabwe's status within the Commonwealth, the question of how to implement EU sanctions in relation to the EU-Africa Summit, and expected UN consideration of the situation in Zimbabwe,

K. whereas South Africa in particular, as Zimbabwe's most powerful neighbour and economic partner, has the opportunity and responsibility to show leadership in helping bring about urgent change for the better in Zimbabwe,

L. whereas the EU is committed to maintaining close relations with its ACP partners, and working with them and with the wider international community to find a common approach so as to re-establish democracy and put an end to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe,

M. whereas African nations must not allow their relations with the countries of the European Union to be held hostage by the Mugabe regime, and it is therefore in the interests of the African Union and SADC to take urgent action along with the rest of the international community to bring about a rapid change for the better in Zimbabwe,

N. whereas a significant part of the UN Panel of Experts' October 2002 report on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Democratic Republic of Congo refers to the illicit role of government-backed Zimbabwean interests, and gives startling evidence of how the actions of Mugabe's corrupt henchmen impact not just on their own people, but also on neighbouring countries; whereas the Speaker of Zimbabwe's Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was cited in this report,

O. whereas opportunities to circumvent the EU's travel ban have been exploited by leading members of the Mugabe regime and the Council has failed to prevent this,

P. whereas the European Parliament itself took action in November 2002 to refuse access to parliamentary premises to two banned Zimbabweans who had been granted visas by the Belgian authorities,

1. Condemns the lack of coherence in EU policy, and calls upon the Council and the governments of the Member States not to seek exemptions from the EU's own sanctions regime;

2. Calls upon the Council, when reviewing its Common Position of 18 February 2002, to ensure that sanctions against the Mugabe regime continue without interruption and without exception and to outline, with absolute clarity, how the visa ban on ZANU-PF members must be applied;

3. Insists that the spurious and unsubstantiated charges against Morgan Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela should be dropped and that the systematic violence and intimidation against opponents of the Mugabe regime must cease;

4. Calls for a representative government to be freely and fairly chosen in properly managed and internationally monitored elections, as a matter of urgency;

5. Condemns the utilisation of food aid as a political weapon against opposition supporters; asks the government of Zimbabwe to guarantee food distribution to the population regardless of political affiliation; calls on the international community, including the UN, to take a more interventionist approach to food distribution, to provide protection for safe and fair delivery of food to those who need it, and to work with Zimbabwe's neighbours who are confronted with refugee problems;

6. Calls upon the UN to appoint a Special Rapporteur to investigate the human rights situation in Zimbabwe;

7. Calls on the Council and Commission to extend the existing sanctions and to impose sanctions on those business people responsible for financing the ZANU-PF regime; calls for the introduction of additional measures, including the rescinding of rights of residence in Europe of those covered by EU sanctions and stopping their family members accessing employment and educational institutions in the EU;

8. Calls yet again upon the Commission and Council to provide more information on the freezing of the bank accounts of those subject to EU sanctions;

9. Calls for consideration of wider sanctions against the Zimbabwe regime, including an international sports and cultural boycott, but none which would increase the suffering of the population of Zimbabwe;

10. Praises the courage of the Zimbabwean cricketers Andy Flower and Henry Olonga who defied Mugabe and the stance of the England cricket team who have refused to play in Zimbabwe;

11. Calls for increased awareness among the EU and its ACP partners and in the wider international community of the MDC's wish for the EU sanctions to be rigorously implemented, including the call by MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai for the stringent application of the visa ban;

12. Criticises the invitation to Mugabe to attend the Franco-African summit in February 2003;

13. Insists that the Council refuse a visa to Mugabe, and any other banned Zimbabweans, to attend the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, and regrets that an opportunity for EU-Africa dialogue is again being jeopardised by the problems caused by the Zimbabwe regime;

14. Calls, in accordance with the Cotonou Agreement, for questions of good governance and the promotion of human rights and the rule of law, focusing on Zimbabwe, to feature in all EU discussions in African countries and their regional organisations, and not be merely reserved for dialogue with Southern Africa;

15. Urges President Mbeki of South Africa, as the current President of the African Union, and President Dos Santos, as Chairman of SADC, to take the initiative in bringing pressure to bear on Zimbabwe through effective regional initiatives and to demand fresh presidential elections in Zimbabwe under international supervision;

16. Urges the Commonwealth to renew its suspension of Zimbabwe;

17. Rejects any suggestion that the substitution of President Mugabe by Emmerson Mnangagwa would solve Zimbabwe's problems, since the latter has a clear responsibility for the state of Zimbabwe's economy and its administration, and is implicated in the political violence and election-rigging;

18. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Governments of the Member States, the ACP-EU Council, the Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, the UN Secretary-General, the Secretary-General of the African Union and the Secretary-General of SADC.

1 OJ C 40, 7.2.2001, p. 425.

2 OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 241.

3 OJ C 121, 24.4.2001, p. 394.

4 OJ C 343, 5.12.2001, p. 304.

5 OJ C 72 E, 21.3.2002, p. 339.

6 OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 305.

7 P5_TA(2002)0131.

8 P5_TA(2002)0376.

9 P5_TA(2002)0412.