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‘Sanctions must stay’

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The Zimbabwe Europe Network (Zen), a consortium of more than 20 non-governmental organisations has made fresh calls for punitive economic measures against Harare to stay until full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Zen, with membership in nine European (EU) countries, urged the European Union and the West to continue imposing targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe as long as there was continued violation of human and democratic rights. Zen’s call comes as Zanu PF reportedly intensified a campaign to have the sanctions lifted.

“Zen reiterates the continuity of the targeted measures including the travel bans on individuals responsible for human rights violations until the GPA is fulfilled. We will continue to press Sadc and the African Union. We will also maintain a high level of humanitarian aid and support for social sectors,” Zen said in a statement.

“We therefore urge the international community to apply intensive diplomatic pressure on the government of Zimbabwe to outline a clear roadmap for the holding of credible free and fair elections.”

Zen cited key outstanding issues including the staffing of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, security sector reforms, political violence, media reforms and the role of election observers and monitors.

The targeted sanctions, the organisation said, should only be relaxed in tandem with progress towards full democratisation of Zimbabwe.

Zen coordinator, Tor Hugne Olsen, said his organisation planned to host a delegation of civil society leaders in September.

He said the delegation would tour different European countries including Spain and China as part of the troika that was assessing Zimbabwe at its Universal Peer Review assessment in Geneva in October.

In February this year, the EU and the West extended the sanctions and targeted measures on Zimbabwe arguing lack of progress on the democratic front.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo promised to respond to Zen’s stance, but he remained unreachable on his mobile phone up to the time of going to press.

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