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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations her Department has made to the government of Zimbabwe on (a) economic instability and inflation, (b) government instability, (c) human, civil and political rights, (d) treatment of prisoners, (e) treatment of children and (f) HIV/AIDS infection in that country. (97930)

The situation in Zimbabwe is desperate, including the important issues raised by the hon. Member. We have raised our concerns directly with the Zimbabwean Government on many occasions. I summoned the Zimbabwean ambassador, Mr. Gabriel Machinga, in September, to protest against human rights abuses. Our ambassador in Harare has pressed senior Zimbabwean Government representatives, including the Reserve Bank Governor, on the urgent need far economic reform. We have taken action with EU partners, including a formal complaint over the arrests and detention of more than 400 women and children following Valentine’s day protests.

Working with local partners, the UK has committed £20 million to work on HIV prevention, anti retroviral therapy and behavioural change services.