No to lifting of Zim sanctions - activist

2012-07-23 13:01
President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

President Robert Mugabe. (AP)

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Cape Town - Leading Zimbabwean human rights activist Kerry Kay has lambasted the possible lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe by the European Union, saying the country is still faced with "gross human rights abuses".

In an interview with News24 on Monday, Kay said she was surprised that Zimbabwe's prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in Australia on an official visit, had also agreed to have the sanctions suspended "despite the continued violence in the country".

"Why is Tsvangirai agreeing to have the sanctions lifted when nothing has changed in Zimbabwe? There are still gross human rights abuses taking place, still economic sabotage by the military top brass... still land invasions."

"The conditions of the GPA [Global Political Agreement] have still not been implemented by Zanu-PF... What does that tell anyone who has one iota of common sense?" said Kay.

The EU on Monday agreed to lift most sanctions against Zimbabwe firms and individuals once the country has held "a peaceful and credible" vote on a new constitution.

Welcoming "constructive dialogue" and political "progress", EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels also agreed to resume direct aid to Zimbabwe's government after a 10-year suspension.

A statement from the 27 EU ministers said sanctions would be lifted against most of the 112 Zimbabweans still under an EU asset freeze and travel ban decided in 2002.

Credible constitutional referendum

This would only occur once a referendum on a new constitution has been organised, probably at the end of the year.

"The EU agrees that a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum would represent an important milestone in the preparation of democratic elections that would justify a suspension of the majority of all EU targeted restrictive measures against individuals and entities," the statement said.

But Kay said "the reason why travel bans were imposed still remained in place.  Zanu-PF have cleverly as always used the sanctions as an excuse for not complying with anything.  And now they are going to be rewarded for not complying," she said.

"Does the EU and UK and US think for a moment that if the travel bans are lifted that Zanu-PF is going to suddenly come into line and comply?"

Zimbabwean sanctions were imposed in 2002 after Mugabe oversaw a murderous campaign to drive out white farmers that pushed the country’s economy into a disastrous slump.

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Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  morgan tsvangirai  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  australia  |  southern africa


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