Britain regurgitating statement on human rights abuses in Zimbabwe


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The British government is regurgitating the same statement about human rights abuses in Zimbabwe ahead of the 26 March by-elections.

Two ministers, one in the House of Lords and the other in the House of Commons, have given similar statements responding to legislators in the separate houses on different dates.

Q &A

Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench (2 March 2022): To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports of violence and intimidation of opposition politicians, their supporters, and trade unions, ahead of parliamentary and local by-elections in Zimbabwe on 26 March; and what steps they are taking in response.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park- The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office): The UK remains concerned by the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. This includes a lack of accountability for human rights violations, including those responsible for the death of protestors in August 2018 and January 2019, at the hands of the security forces. We are also aware of recent reports of police brutality and efforts to frustrate the opposition’s right to free assembly. While the UK welcomes steps to legislate for an Independent Complaints Commission, the test will be its ability to act independently and effectively.

We have been clear that we want to see the Government of Zimbabwe meet its international and domestic obligations by respecting the rule of law and safeguarding human rights. The Minister for Africa emphasised these messages when she spoke to President Mnangagwa on 1 November 2021 at COP26. Alongside significant development assistance to help ordinary Zimbabweans, we continue to support civil society organisations focused on human rights. On 1 February 2021, the UK imposed sanctions on four security officials responsible for some of Zimbabwe’s worst human rights violations under the current regime. Our sanctions do not target, and seek to avoid impact on, the wider economy and people of Zimbabwe.

Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools) – (28 February): To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what assessment she has made of recent trends of human rights abuses by Zimbabwean security forces; and what steps her Department plans to take in response to those trends.

Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office):  The UK remains concerned by the human rights situation in Zimbabwe. This includes a lack of accountability for human rights violations, including those responsible for the death of protestors in August 2018 and January 2019, at the hands of the security forces. We are also aware of recent reports of police brutality and are working to verify these allegations. While the UK welcomes steps to legislate for an Independent Complaints Commission, the test will be its ability to act independently and effectively.

We have been clear that we want to see the Government of Zimbabwe meet its international and domestic obligations by respecting the rule of law and safeguarding human rights. The Minister for Africa emphasised these messages when she spoke to President Mnangagwa on 1 November 2021 at COP26. Alongside significant development assistance to help ordinary Zimbabweans, we continue to support civil society organisations focused on human rights. On 1 February 2021, the UK imposed sanctions on four security officials responsible for some of Zimbabwe’s worst human rights violations under the current regime. Our sanctions do not target, and seek to avoid impact on, the wider economy and people of Zimbabwe.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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