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Zimbabwe: Human Rights

Volume 461: debated on Friday 15 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 March 2007, Official Report, column 600W, on Zimbabwe: human rights, what steps have been taken by the EU to engage with southern African Governments on the situation in Zimbabwe; and what the outcome has been of these steps. (137471)

The situation in Zimbabwe continues to deteriorate with economic, political and social indicators worsening by the week. On behalf of the EU the presidency, through its Ambassadors or local representatives, has engaged directly with governments in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region to express the EU’s concern at human rights abuses within Zimbabwe, which many African Governments share. The EU troika held a formal dialogue with South Africa on 14 May at which Ministers discussed Zimbabwe. Both sides agreed that meaningful internal dialogue in Zimbabwe is crucial to the resolution of the crisis. The EU troika met with the African Union (AU) delegation at ministerial level on 15 May. The AU noted its continuing support for the SADC initiative and President Mbeki’s role. The EU awaits the outcome of this initiative with interest and will return to the situation in Zimbabwe at the UN Human Rights Council in September, following the EU statement in March condemning state-sponsored violence. The UK will continue to ensure that opportunities available at EU level are taken to raise the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and to highlight the EU's condemnation of ongoing political violence and human rights abuses.