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Zimbabwe: Politics and Government

Volume 458: debated on Monday 19 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of the treatment in detention of Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara and other democracy activists in Zimbabwe. (128158)

From their injuries, it is clear to all that Morgan Tsvangirai and others who were detained on 11 March were subjected to treatment of the most barbaric kind. This demonstrates Mugabe and his government's total disregard for international law and the depths to which they are prepared to sink to silence their democratic opponents.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has had with her counterparts in (a) the United States, (b) China, (c) the Russian Federation and (d) France on the Zimbabwean Government's recent treatment of democracy activists at a prayer meeting in Harare. (128159)

We remain in close contact with all permanent members of the UN Security Council and encourage the UN to remain focussed on all aspects of the worsening situation in Zimbabwe. We welcomed the clear statements from the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemning the recent arrests and beatings.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports she has received of violence toward democracy activists detained by the Government of Zimbabwe following a prayer meeting in Harare; and what representations she has made to (a) her counterparts in the European Union, (b) the EU External Affairs Commissioner and (c) her counterparts in South Africa on the issue. (128160)

Our embassy in Harare is keeping us informed of events in Zimbabwe. Both my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and my noble Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Lord Triesman of Tottenham, have made statements expressing our deep condemnation of what has happened there in recent days. I raised in strong terms our concerns at the UN Human Rights Council on 13 March. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed Zimbabwe with Nksozana Dlamini-Zuma and Carl Bildt on 15 March. We are in close contact with other EU countries and continue to discuss what needs to happen to relieve the terrible economic and humanitarian crisis facing its people.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate she has made of the number killed or seriously wounded in the recent incident at the prayer meeting at Highfield in Harare. (128161)

Reports indicate that one movement for democratic change activist named Gift Tandare was shot and killed at the save Zimbabwe campaign prayer meeting on 11 March. Many others were wounded, some very seriously. 12 of those arrested and most seriously beaten both on and after arrest, including Morgan Tsvangirai, are still recovering in hospital. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has condemned the shooting, arrest and beatings of those who were protesting peacefully.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions she has held with the British Ambassador to Harare on violence and intimidation towards democracy activists detained in Zimbabwe. (128172)

Our ambassador in Harare and officials from the embassy are closely following events on the ground, talking to those who were involved and reporting back on developments. At this critical time in Zimbabwe, their accurate and timely reporting is absolutely crucial.