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European Union to add more sanctions over army killings

by Mandla Ndlovu
15 Feb 2019 at 07:37hrs | Views
The European Union Parliament has called upon the European Council to review sanctions against Zimbabwean individuals and companies in light of the recent alleged human rights abuses by the security forces.

In a resolution issued on Thursday, the EU Parliament said it, "calls on the European Council to review its restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Zimbabwe, including those measures currently suspended, in the light of accountability for recent state violence."

The European Union also condemned the arbitrary arrest of citizens by the government and the decision by the Mnangagwa administration to turn a blind eye on the atrocities committed by the state apparatus.

It also noted with concern how the court officials were abusing rule of law and judicial processes through mass trials and denial of bail for accused persons.

It further called for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners arrested over the recent violent protests and state crackdown on civilians.

Find the full resolutions below:

The European Union

1.  Underlines its unanimous desire for Zimbabwe to become a peaceful, democratic and prosperous nation in which all citizens are treated well and equally under the law and where the organs of the state act on behalf of the citizens and not against them;

2.  Strongly condemns the violence that occurred during the recent protests in Zimbabwe; firmly believes that peaceful protest is part of a democratic process and that excessive force in response must be avoided in all circumstances;

3.  Urges President Mnangagwa to remain true to his inaugural promises, to move rapidly to take control of the situation and to put Zimbabwe back on a path of reconciliation and respect for democracy and the rule of law;

4.  Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to put an immediate end to abuses by security forces and to promptly and impartially investigate all allegations of excessive use of force by police and state officials in order to establish individual responsibilities, with a view to ensuring accountability; recalls that the country's constitution establishes an independent body to investigate complaints of police and military misconduct, but that the government has yet to set it up;

5.  Urges the Government of Zimbabwe to withdraw urgently all military personnel and the youth militia deployed across the country that are terrorising residents in clear violation of the Zimbabwean Constitution;

6.  Believes that freedom of assembly, association and expression are essential components of any democracy; stresses that expressing an opinion in a non-violent way is a constitutional right for all Zimbabwean citizens and reminds the authorities of their obligation to protect the right of all citizens to protest against their deteriorating social and economic conditions; calls on the government to put an end to the specific targeting of leaders and members of the ZCTU;

7.  Underlines the fundamental role that the opposition plays in a democratic society;

8.  Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners;

9.  Asks the Zimbabwean Government to conform to the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and the international human rights instruments ratified by Zimbabwe;

10.  Is deeply concerned about reported violations of due process through fast-tracking and mass trials; insists that the judiciary must uphold the rule of law and ensure that its independence and the right to a fair trial is respected in all circumstances; denounces all arrests made without bringing forward charges;

11.  Calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to undertake a prompt, thorough, impartial and independent investigation into allegations of human rights violations and abuses, including rape and sexual violence by security forces, and to bring those responsible to justice; demands that access to medical services should be universally provided to the victims of such sexual violence without fear of retribution;

12.  Condemns the internet shutdown that allowed the authorities to conceal the human rights abuses committed by the army and internal security forces and to obstruct independent reporting and documentation of abuses during the crackdown and immediately after the election; stresses that access to information is a right that must be respected by the authorities in accordance with their constitutional and international obligations;

13.  Denounces the abusive use and restrictive nature of POSA, and urges the Zimbabwean authorities to align legislation with international standards for the protection and promotion of human rights;

14.  Expresses particular concern at the economic and social situation in Zimbabwe; recalls that the country's main problems are poverty, unemployment and chronic malnutrition and hunger; considers that these problems can only be solved through the implementation of ambitious policies on employment, education, health and agriculture;

15.  Calls on all political actors to exercise responsibility and restraint, and in particular to refrain from inciting violence;

16.  Reminds the Government of Zimbabwe that the support of the European Union and its Member States in the context of the Cotonou Agreement, and for trade, development, and economic assistance, is conditional on its respecting the rule of law and the international conventions and treaties to which it is party;

17.  Recalls that long-term support hinges on comprehensive reforms rather than mere promises; calls for European engagement with Zimbabwe to be value-driven and firm in its positioning towards the Zimbabwean authorities;

18.  Urges the government to immediately implement the recommendations on post-election violence made by the Commission of Inquiry, in particular, the promotion of political tolerance and accountable leadership, and the setting up of a national dialogue conducted in a credible, inclusive, transparent and accountable way;

19.  Notes the government's will to deliver on reform commitments; stresses, however, that these reforms should be political as well as economic; encourages the government, the opposition, civil society representatives and religious leaders to engage on an equal footing in a national dialogue in which human rights are respected and protected;

20.  Calls on the government to fully implement the recommendations made by the EU EOM, especially with regard to the rule of law and an inclusive political environment; underlines the ten priority recommendations identified by the EOM and set out in the letter of 10 October 2018 from the Chief Observer to President Mnangagwa – namely, in order to create a level playing field for all political parties, to ensure a clearer and coherent legal framework; to strengthen ZEC by making it truly independent and transparent, thereby restoring confidence in the electoral process; to ensure that strengthening ZEC's independence makes it free from governmental oversight in the approval of its regulations; and to create a more inclusive electoral process;

21.  Calls on the EU delegation and EU Member State embassies in Zimbabwe to continue their close monitoring of developments in the country and to use all appropriate tools to support human rights defenders, civil society organisations and trade unions, to promote the essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement and to support pro-democracy movements;

22.  Calls on the EU to step up its political dialogue with Zimbabwe on human rights on the basis of Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

23.  Calls on the European Council to review its restrictive measures against individuals and entities in Zimbabwe, including those measures currently suspended, in the light of accountability for recent state violence;

24.  Urges the international community, notably the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU), to give more active assistance to Zimbabwe to find a sustainable democratic solution to the current crisis;

25.  Urges neighbouring countries to comply with the provisions of international law and to protect those fleeing violence in Zimbabwe with the provision of asylum, especially in the short term;

26.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the EEAS, the Government and the Parliament of Zimbabwe, the governments of the South African Development Community and the African Union, and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

Source - Byo24News