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EU renews Zim sanctions, cites lack of political will to uphold human rights

The European Union (EU) has lifted long-suspended sanctions on Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, Army General Valerio Sibanda and former First Lady Grace Mugabe but maintained its embargo on the Zimbabwe Defence Industries.

In a statement published on Monday, the EU said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime had not improved in upholding human rights.

“The situation in terms of respect for human rights has not improved in Zimbabwe,” read the statement.

EU also raised a red flag on the Private Voluntary Organizations Amendment (PVO) Bill which was gazetted by the government last year. The law is largely viewed as draconian by Zimbabwean analysts.

“Intimidation of the political opposition and other government critics has continued to restrict the democratic and civic space, which is under threat of shrinking further, through the Data Protection Act and ongoing legislative processes such as the Private Voluntary Organisations Amendment Bill and the envisaged so-called Patriotic Act,” the organisation said.

EU also accused the government of failing to enforce recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry which ruled that soldiers killed six civilians during a post election demonstration in Harare in 2018.

“The EU is concerned about these developments. Perpetrators of human rights violations should be swiftly brought to justice to end impunity.

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“The recommendations of the Motlanthe Commission of Inquiry have not been followed substantially and need to be implemented as a matter of priority and urgency.

“It is important that international human rights obligations are adhered to and the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe respected.”

“In this light, the EU recalls the purpose of its restrictive measures, which is to encourage a demonstrable, genuine, and long-term commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to respect and uphold human rights and the rule of law.

“The EU has decided to renew its restrictive measures, while lifting the already suspended restrictive measures against three individuals.

“The arms embargo and the targeted assets freeze against one company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, remain in place taking into account the situation in Zimbabwe, as well as the continuing need to investigate the role of security forces in human rights abuses.

“The EU will continue to closely follow developments, with a particular attention to the human rights situation, and recall its readiness to review and adapt the whole range of its policies accordingly.

“The measures in place are targeted and very limited, therefore they do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments, or trade.

“Zimbabwe continues to benefit from duty free and quota free access of its exports to the EU, while negotiations are ongoing to deepen the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement.” Nehanda Radio