Australia and the EU to review Zimbabwe sanctions

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr

By Violet Gonda
07 February 2013

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr announced Thursday that his country has set up benchmarks for the removal of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe, which include the holding of a free and fair constitutional referendum and an announcement of an election date. On the same day the European Parliament passed a resolution condemning the increase in violence and intimidation of activists in Zimbabwe, in the run up to elections.

In 2002, Australia imposed financial restriction and a travel ban against 153 individuals and four companies, plus an arms embargo.

Carr told journalists in Canberra that Australia’s plan to review the targeted measures was consistent with the approaches made by the US and the European Union.

Both the EU and the USA imposed targeted sanctions on ZANU PF members, including President Robert Mugabe, accusing them of engaging in human rights abuses.

Australia’s Foreign Minister credited Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with lobbying for the removal of sanctions.

ZANU PF has always accused the MDC-T of initiating the sanctions and spokesman Rugare Gumbo told SW Radio Africa that the sanctions have “always been illegal” and were not approved by the United Nations.

“We don’t accept conditional lifting of sanctions. We want total and unconditional lifting of sanctions and this nonsense about if this thing happens or if that happens is not helpful at all and we don’t attach great importance to it,” Gumbo said.

Ralph Black, the MDC-T representative in the United States and also the foreign policy advisor to party president Morgan Tsvangirai, insisted that his party did not initiate the sanctions and that the restrictions were mainly a response to the chaotic and violent land grabs and rights abuses committed by ZANU PF.

“ZANU PF has lied that we initiated the sanctions. No we did not.  The sanctions were initiated by a number of advocacy groups and affected individuals, and the MDC were a fringe-benefit of these in our struggle for a democratic nation,” Black said.

The European Union is also set to review its policy in the next couple of weeks. Member of the European Union Parliament, Geoffrey Van Orden, said the EU will keep the possibility of suspending the sanctions under constant review.

He said Thursday’s resolution condemning the increase in intimidation in Zimbabwe is in response to the latest clamp down on rights activists.

“Very specifically we were concerned about quite a number of these human rights activists that have been arrested and very badly treated in recent days … and this is quite the opposite of what is required in order to see a suspension of our targeted measures.”

Human Rights Watch said the EU should first of all require tangible human rights reforms and free and fair elections before the restrictions on Zimbabwe are removed. Africa advocacy director Tiseke Kasambala said it is premature for western countries to lift the targeted sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and members of his inner circle, simply for holding a referendum on a new constitution.

“The referendum is a non issue and the main issue should be what happens before and after elections.”

Kasambala said repressive laws like the Public Order and Security Act should be repealed or amended and proper electoral reforms and changes in the security apparatus should be addressed by the coalition government, otherwise “conditions on the ground will not be conducive to the holding of free, fair and peaceful elections.”

Gumbo responded by saying his party does “not pay any attention” to what Human Rights Watch says.

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7 Responsesto “Australia and the EU to review Zimbabwe sanctions”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Let these sanctions remain till elections are over.

    • GBZ says:

      No No, the money (billions) must be returned to the rightful owners!

      • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

        If you mean thieves who used our land for hundreds of years without paying a penny to my people are the rightful owners then I am afraid that I have to tell you must be living in your fantasy world mate. An occupier of one’s land without authourity or a thief of one’s property can never be characterised as the rightful owner of occupied land without the express authority and permission of the owner. It is that straightforward.

        • GBZ says:

          You need a couple years of history lessons Chimps, but regardless of that- THESE THIEVES STOLE THIS MONEY FROM THE POCKETS OF ZIMBABWEAN PEOPLE, YES EVEN zanupf people AND THEY PUT IT IN BANKS OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY TO HIDE IT, BILLIONS OF $’S….US $ AND POUNDS AND EUROS AND IT DOES NOT BELONG TO THEM, AND WHEN THEY LOSE THE ELECTION THEY WILL BE PUT IN PRISON FOR IT.. COMPREHENDO CHIMPO…ARE YOU ONE OF THEM?

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            No no mate, let us not joke over a serious matter that has caused untold suffering to my people at the hands of the western world. We need sober and rational people to discuss this matter which I have said before needs the participation of the Brutish government led by Prime Minister Cameron. They should not have been allowed to just walk away from Zimbabwe without paying a prize for the mess it created in my country. On a positive note, I submit that the successive governments in the United Kingdom that came after Margaret Thatcher have blood on their hands as they had a responsibility and obligation of penning channels of communication with the government of Zimbabwe to resolve this issue mate. Closing their door to the Zimbabwean people and wishing the problem will just fizzle into thin air, is not the way to go for a country that prides itself as one of the most civilized countries in the western world. I submit that opening channels of communication and the creation of meaningful diplomatic ties, and not the ones that are in existence right now, are the only credible ways both countries can utilize to their talents in resolving the challenging questions facing Zimbabwe today. Who knows, even thieves who robbed our land for hundreds of years may be compensated for crimes the white settlers and their off-springs committed in Zimbabwe should the United Kingdom gets involved in resolving the land question it abandoned at our time of need. So keep your fingers crossed mate.

          • Chimbwidos Warvets says:

            No no mate, let us not joke over a serious matter that has caused untold suffering to my people at the hands of the western world. We need sober and rational people to discuss this matter which I have said before needs the participation of the Brutish government led by Prime Minister Cameron. The British government should not have been allowed to just walk away from Zimbabwe without paying a prize for the mess it created in my country. I submit that the successive governments of the United Kingdom that came after Margaret Thatcher have blood on their hands as they had a responsibility and obligation of opening channels of communication with the government of Zimbabwe in resolving the land question they created in the country mate. Our people from both sides of the divide have dies in their bid to resolve an issue which the British government should have given their assistance, but as bullies of the world, they just walked away as if the precursors/reasons why the people of Zimbabwe had waged the liberation war had been resolved. It was common knowledge that the indigenous people whose land had been stolen by the white settlers wanted its land back. Only the Margaret Thatcher administration cared to a certain extent but those who came after her reneged on their promises and just walked away from us. Quite frankly, closing their door to the Zimbabwean people and wishing the problem will just fizzle into thin air, is not the way to go for a country that prides itself as one of the most civilized countries in the western world. I submit that opening channels of communication and the creation of meaningful diplomatic ties, and not the ones that are in existence right now, are the only credible ways both countries can utilize to their talents in resolving the challenging questions facing Zimbabwe today. Who knows, even thieves who robbed our land for hundreds of years may be compensated for crimes the white settlers and their off-springs committed in Zimbabwe should the United Kingdom gets involved in resolving the land question it abandoned at our time of need. So keep your fingers crossed mate.

  2. Chimbwidos Warvets says:

    These guys are not even ashamed of the crimes they committed against humanity and yet they accuse us of violating human rights in Zimbabwe. They are the most vicious and greatest abusers of human rights the world has ever seen and yet they are good at accusing others. They say history always repeats itself.

    From enslaving the African people, to the Berlin Conference of 1884 where the despots of Europe without any consultation of the African people and their leaders, European despots of the time decided among themselves as to which European country was to own and control which African people on our continent and thereby creating havoc, misery, plundering of our human and natural resources, murdering those who resisted domination and control, forced removal of our people from their land they had occupied for hundreds of years to the mountains with view to creating farms for the white settlers. And without sham the off-springs of the white settlers in Zimbabwe want to be compensated for land they had stolen from the indigenous people of this country. Is it not ironic the very land they stole from the indigenous people of Zimbabwe is one of the major reasons that economic sanctions have been imposed against our people by the western world. It is all blue lies that have been propagated to the world that these are targeted sanctions against individuals in the Mugabe led government. It is the entire country that is under siege/economic blockade.

    Today the same European despots of the European Union, have imposed economic sanctions against Zimbabwe for what they term as abuse of human rights in Zimbabwe. I submit that the greatest abusers of mankind are those who have enslaved other human beings from the African continent who were sold by whites slave owners in foreign countries. No African leader that I know has done this except the despots of Europe who have still not compensated the African continent for the ills they created against humanity. While Europe has paid reparations to the Jews for crimes against humanity, Germany and Japan for reconstruction after the Second World War, nothing has been given to the African continent. It is well documented that those who partitioned Africa and set the boundaries of the African countries without consulting the African people went on the plundering spree of their human and natural resources. Europe and the Americas are what they are today because of our human and natural resources they just plundered for a song for hundreds of years. And today, the story is pretty much the same. They are fighting in foreign lands to conquer the inhabitants of those country in order to own and control the resources of those countries. Quite frankly these European countries that are well known for their bullying tactics are clearly the abusers of human rights and yet the United Nations does not condemn them. Zimbabwe has not conquered any country and subjugated any human beings but is a victim of foreign domination and control. The European Union should leave us alone and mind its own business.

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