Condemn Zim human rights violations, EU Parly told

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Mnangagwa
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

AN informal network of European non-governmental organisations, the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN) has called on the European Union Parliament to pass a resolution condemning ongoing human rights violations in the southern African country.

BY SILAS NKALA

ZEN co-ordinator Hugo Knoppert accused President Emmerson Mnangagwa of being a tyrant hiding behind COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to perpetuate human rights abuses.

“ZEN calls upon the EU Parliament to adopt a resolution condemning the recent human rights violations in Zimbabwe,” Knoppert said.

“Therefore, ZEN welcomes recent statements by the EU delegation, EU embassies, and individual diplomats, and urges them to continue to speak out on human rights and democracy issues.”

Knoppert urged the EU institutions to use the upcoming planning summit of their Multi-annual funding framework to rethink its strategies of engagement and supporting Zimbabwe.

He said the EU needed to increase its support to Zimbabwean pro-democracy actors and initiatives to defend and strengthen Zimbabwe’s democratic pillars and enable citizens to hold their government to account.

Zimbabwe has been widely condemned following the abduction and alleged torture of three MDC Alliance officials Joanah Mamombe (Harare West MP), Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova, as well as the arrest of MDC Alliance lawyers Advocate Thabani Mpofu and Sylvester Hashiti, party vice-presidents Tendai Biti and Lynette Karenyi-Kore, among others.

“The recent events need to be understood as a continuation of a long trend of sustained pressure on democratic space in Zimbabwe, especially since the 2018 elections,” Knoppert said.

“The abduction, torture and subsequent prosecution of three female opposition members is the latest of a growing number of human rights violations and an increasingly politicised conduct of the security forces and the Judiciary.”

“ZEN continues to amplify the concerns of Zimbabwean civil society with regards to the recently proposed constitutional amendments, which include the centralisation of power and the weakening of independent oversight institutions.”

Knoppert said the lockdown in Zimbabwe had worsened the pre-existing food insecurity and vulnerability of citizens, who are mostly unable to access clean water, food and medical attention.

“ZEN, therefore, welcomes international humanitarian assistance, although the serious allegations of corruption and continued politicisation of aid contribute to the shrinking of space,” Knoppert said.