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Human Rights Watch Says Sanctions Must Stay
Travel restrictions and asset freezes in Zimbabwe must remain in place
Thondhlana Barnabas (kudzanai)     Print Article 
Published 2010-02-08 11:05 (KST)   
This article is lightly edited and appears to rely on press releases.  <Editor's Note>
The European Union should maintain its travel restrictions and asset freezes on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle until Zimbabwe carries out the concrete human rights reforms set out in the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) he signed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday.

HRW director for Africa Georgette Gagnon warned that the EU ran the risk of reinforcing ongoing repression and impunity in Zimbabwe if it eased the sanctions on Mugabe and more than 200 of his ZANU PF lieutenants.

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"ZANU PF has continued committing grave human rights abuses and acting as if the agreement had never been signed," said Gagnon.

The GPA, which established a power-sharing government, was implemented last February by ZANU PF party and the then opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Tsvangirai.

It contained specific measures to promote freedom of speech and the rule of law, end politically motivated violence, and apply laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing to justice all perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

HRW said repression has continued in Zimbabwe despite the formation of the coalition government while perpetrators have been allowed to freely roam the streets.

The EU is currently reviewing its sanctions policy toward Zimbabwe.

The bloc sent a delegation to Zimbabwe last September to assess the implementation of the GPA and found that the inclusive government had failed to meet the benchmarks the EU had established for resuming development cooperation with Harare and lifting targeted travel and financial restrictions on senior ZANU PF members.

The Swedish minister for international development, Gunilla Carlsson, who was part of the EU delegation, said then that targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe would not be lifted until human rights abuses ended.

HRW said its ongoing research shows that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe remains virtually the same as during the EU delegation's visit.

It charged that state security agents continued to abduct and kill MDC activists without punishment and to arrest its legislators on spurious charges while Zimbabwe's oppressive media laws remained unchanged.

Illegal invasions of commercial farms, frequently led by military personnel allied with ZANU PF, are continuing and there has been no meaningful progress in demonstrating respect for the rule of law.
A group in the party does not however oppose the continuance of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe, his lieutenants and companies they operate. Another group in the party wants the sanctions to remain on the grounds that they are the only lever to ensure reform in Zanu PF.

The differences come ahead of an EU summit next month which is expected to review the sanctions list. The US has also been making enquiries to update its list which now contains several deceased government officials.

Diplomatic sources this week said the US was planning to place more individuals on the list, mainly new permanent secretaries and other government officials who were promoted to their positions last year.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday, European Union should maintain its travel restrictions and asset freezes on President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle until Zimbabwe carries out the concrete human rights reforms set out in the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA) he signed with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

HRW director for Africa Georgette Gagnon warned that the EU ran the risk of reinforcing ongoing repression and impunity in Zimbabwe if it eased the sanctions on Mugabe and more than 200 of his ZANU PF lieutenants.

"ZANU PF has continued committing grave human rights abuses and acting as if the agreement had never been signed," said Gagnon.

The GPA, which established a power-sharing government, was implemented last February by ZANU PF party and the then opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Tsvangirai.

It contained specific measures to promote freedom of speech and the rule of law, end politically motivated violence, and apply laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing to justice all perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

HRW said repression has continued in Zimbabwe despite the formation of the coalition government while perpetrators have been allowed to freely roam the streets.

The EU is currently reviewing its sanctions policy toward Zimbabwe.

The bloc sent a delegation to Zimbabwe last September to assess the implementation of the GPA and found that the inclusive government had failed to meet the benchmarks the EU had established for resuming development cooperation with Harare and lifting targeted travel and financial restrictions on senior ZANU PF members.

The Swedish minister for international development, Gunilla Carlsson, who was part of the EU delegation, said then that targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe would not be lifted until human rights abuses ended.

HRW said its ongoing research shows that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe remains virtually the same as during the EU delegation's visit.

It charged that state security agents continued to abduct and kill MDC activists without punishment and to arrest its legislators on spurious charges while Zimbabwe's oppressive media laws remained unchanged.

Illegal invasions of commercial farms, frequently led by military personnel allied with ZANU PF, are continuing and there has been no meaningful progress in demonstrating respect for the rule of law.
A group in the party does not however oppose the continuance of sanctions against President Robert Mugabe, his lieutenants and companies they operate. Another group in the party wants the sanctions to remain on the grounds that they are the only lever to ensure reform in Zanu PF.

The differences come ahead of an EU summit next month which is expected to review the sanctions list. The US has also been making enquiries to update its list which now contains several deceased government officials.

Diplomatic sources this week said the US was planning to place more individuals on the list, mainly new permanent secretaries and other government officials who were promoted to their positions last year.
ENDS

©2010 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Thondhlana Barnabas

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