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Zimbabwe: Human Rights

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 20 April 2021

I thank the hon. Lady for her question and her deep interest in human rights more broadly. We remain seriously concerned about human rights in Zimbabwe, including abductions, arrests and assaults on civil society. In fact, on 1 February, we used our new sanctions regime to hold to account four specific individuals responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses. We will continue to press for genuine political and economic reform, and for Zimbabwean laws to be upheld.

In recent weeks, I have received emails from constituents about the worsening and very serious political, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe, as the Minister has already outlined. My part of south Wales has a vibrant and thriving Zimbabwean community, and although I accept that the Minister has made an assessment of the situation, I would like to know what concrete steps this Government are taking with allies in the region, directly through Harare and through the community groups here in the UK, because enough is enough. There are children dying from malnutrition now, and we cannot simply sit by silently any more.

Like the hon. Lady, I have a Zimbabwean community in Southend, with which I engage, but we also engage with near partners, particularly South Africa and the African Union, that are very influential. Our ambassador maintains a dialogue across ZANU-PF, and following the death of Foreign Minister Moyo, with whom I had previously had very frank engagements, I am due to meet his replacement when he gets in role and starts making international engagements. I will continue to make these points; and actually this House making the points, as the hon. Lady is doing, is very helpful, because the eyes of the world are watching the Zimbabwean Government, as are the Zimbabwean people.