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Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reasons were cited for Zimbabwe’s expulsion from the Commonwealth; under what conditions or circumstances the country would be readmitted; and if she will make a statement. (102612)

Zimbabwe was not expelled from the Commonwealth. It was Mugabe’s decision to withdraw completely in 2003 after Zimbabwe was suspended by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2002 for failing against the key principles of good governance, enshrined in the Commonwealth’s Harare Declaration of 1991. These include the right to free and fair elections and respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Like all our partners we look forward to the day when a democratic Zimbabwe can rejoin the Commonwealth should it apply to do so. But currently Mugabe pursues policies which hurt rather than help ordinary Zimbabweans. We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to change course by choosing policies that ensure full respect for the Harare Declaration, economic stability and development in Zimbabwe, not humanitarian misery.