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Zimbabwe

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Minister of State, Department for International Development (1) if he will list the dates of the suspension of long-term development aid projects the Department supported in Zimbabwe; [120507](2) what financial resources the Department has allocated to Zimbabwe Police Organisational Development since 1997; how they were spent; and if he will make a statement; [120508](3) what the sterling value was of Land Rover Defenders was exported to the Zimbabwe Republic Police by the Department; and if he will make a statement; [120509](4) how many Land Rover Defenders were exported for use by the Zimbabwe Republic Police as part of a development project supported by the Department between 1997 and 2002; [120510](5) what assurances the Government received from the Government of Zimbabwe about the use of the Land Rover Defenders exported for use by the Zimbabwe Republic Police; and if he will make a statement. [120511]

Two DFID projects, both in support the Republic of Zimbabwe Police, were suspended in April 2000 given concern about political activities and lack of respect for the law by the police. Both projects have since been closed.The £6.438 million Zimbabwe Police Organisational Development project was agreed in 1996, but only £1.817 million was spent by its closure. The Police Land Rovers project was approved in 1997, and was one of the last commitments under the old Aid and Trade Provision, which has also since been wound up. The commitment to purchase 1,500 Land Rovers involved a DFID grant of £8.4 million. 1,030 land rovers were provided, and £6 million spent.The Zimbabwe Government made a commitment in the grant agreement to uphold their service charter—in particular with due respect for human rights and the minimum use of force—and not to use the vehicles for the control of demonstrations and riots. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Birmingham, Ladywood (Clare Short), as Secretary of State for International Development, made the decision in April 2000 to suspend the project given concern, expressed to the Zimbabwean Commissioner of Police and the Home Minister, at the use of the vehicles in heavy-handed police response to civil demonstrations and failure of the police to uphold the law in relation to farm occupations from 2000. We remain deeply concerned at the partisan action by the police force, selective application of the law, and lack of respect for civil and human rights in Zimbabwe.