The European Union has renewed sanctions on Zimbabwe but has removed former First Lady Grace Mugabe, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga and Defence Forces Chief Phillip Valerio Sibanda from the sanctions list.
Sanctions against Chiwenga and Sibanda were suspended in 2014 while those against Grace were suspended in 2020.
The EU said sanctions against Zimbabwe were renewed because of its continued human rights abuses but claimed that the sanctions were not hurting ordinary people or hindering foreign investment, an argument that was thrown out by United Nations special rapporteur Alena Douhan.
Below is the full statement from the EU.
Zimbabwe: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union
The European Union (EU) reiterates its ambition for a more constructive relationship with Zimbabwe at all levels.
The EU has reviewed its restrictive measures in respect of Zimbabwe and in this context recalls the Council Conclusions of 17 February 2020 as well as the Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU of 19 February 2021.
Since then, the situation in terms of respect for human rights has not improved in Zimbabwe. Intimidation of the political opposition and other government critics has continued to restrict the democratic and civic space, which is under threat of shrinking further, through the Data Protection Act and ongoing legislative processes such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the envisaged so-called “Patriotic Act”. The EU is concerned about these developments. Perpetrators of human rights violations should be swiftly brought to justice to end impunity. The recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry have not been followed substantially and need to be implemented as a matter of priority and urgency. It is important that international human rights obligations are adhered to and the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe respected.
In this light, the EU recalls the purpose of its restrictive measures, which is to encourage a demonstrable, genuine, and long-term commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to respect and uphold human rights and the rule of law. The EU has decided to renew its restrictive measures, while lifting the already suspended restrictive measures against three individuals. The arms embargo and the targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, remain in place taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the continuing need to investigate the role of security forces in human rights abuses. The EU will continue to closely follow developments, with a particular attention to the human rights situation, and recalls its readiness to review and adapt the whole range of its policies accordingly.
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