Call for EU to review Zimbabwe sanctions

24-Jan-2019 @ 01:00

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

Geoffrey Van Orden Geoffrey Van Orden

The EU should review its sanctions against individuals in Zimbabwe following the brutal crackdown on opposition forces, Conservative Security and defence spokesman Geoffrey Van Orden MEP said today.

While arrests have been targeted against MPs, and opposition and civil society leaders, at the same time, arbitrary beatings and arrests are taking place. A dozen rapes by out-of-control soldiers have been reported. Some 1,200 people have been detained in the past few days. 43 opposition MPs and councillors are known to have been forced into hiding.

Mr Van Orden, who has led the parliamentary opposition in Brussels to Zimbabwean tyranny over nearly two decades, commented:

“Some have described the brutality of the last few days as worse than the Mugabe era. Power struggles within the regime are being played out on the streets and the people are the victims.

“The main driver of the brutality seems to be army chief Constantino Chiwenga pushing to entrench his personal power through his predatory rogue state, by crushing what has been described as ‘treasonous cockroaches’ - the vibrant opposition which garnered over 2.6 million votes in the 2018 election.

“In my conversation this afternoon with senior opposition leaders in Zimbabwe returning from court hearings, they called for the military to stop the shooting; to keep out of people’s homes; and to release those detained.

“We ask what has happened to the President Emmerson Mnangagwa who promised such optimistic, positive change, and mutual respect for the common humanity of all the Zimbabwean people when he came to power a year ago.

“President Mnangagwa now needs to assert himself and regain control over the armed forces. He should release detainees immediately and invite leaders of the opposition, of the unions, and the churches, to a National Conference on the Future of Zimbabwe.

“And there must be real accountability for the brutal abuses of the past few days. The EU should immediately review its sanctions targeted against abusive leading individuals in Zimbabwe and include General Chiwenga and his cohort.

“We must hope that action will now be taken in Zimbabwe so that the United Kingdom, the EU, the Commonwealth and the southern African countries can once more engage in helping put that potentially bountiful, rich country back on the road to security and prosperity for all its people.”


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