Britain yesterday admitted that it provided extensive financial and technical assistance” to a wide range of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe but it could not publicise them to avoid putting them at risk.
This was said in the British Parliament by Minister of State Harriett Baldwin in response to a question by Paul Sweeney who wanted to know what steps she was taking to ensure that the government of Zimbabwe distributes UK bilateral aid fairly through civic and representative community organisations.
“The UK government does not channel any UK bilateral aid through the government of Zimbabwe,” she replied.
“The UK, through the Department for International Development in Zimbabwe, provides extensive financial and technical assistance to a wide range of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe. We do not publicise our partners to avoid putting them at risk. Our funding supports Zimbabwean citizens to hold the state to account in its respect for human rights and democratic principles.”
Asked by David Drew what representations she had made to the government of Zimbabwe in relation to the political situation in the country; and what guidance she had issued to officials from her Department on official contact with the Zimbabwean President, Baldwin responded:
“On 17 January, I summoned the Zimbabwean ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to highlight our concern at the ongoing situation in Zimbabwe. We call on the Zimbabwean government to stop disproportionate use of force by the security forces, investigate any cases of alleged human rights abuses and reinstate full internet access.
“I have issued no guidance to Foreign and Commonwealth Officials on official contact with President Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe.”
Zimbabwe has accused non-governmental organisations of sponsoring the current unrest in the country in an effort to get Zimbabwe on the international agenda.
Britain this week said it might bring the Zimbabwe issue to the United Nations Security Council.