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Procedure : 2019/2563(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0124/2019

Texts tabled :

B8-0124/2019

Debates :

PV 14/02/2019 - 8.2
CRE 14/02/2019 - 8.2

Votes :

PV 14/02/2019 - 10.2

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2019)0116

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 142kWORD 53k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0110/2019
12.2.2019
PE635.349v01-00
 
B8-0124/2019

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 135 of the Rules of Procedure


on Zimbabwe (2019/2563(RSP))


Ignazio Corrao, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Rolandas Paksas, Piernicola Pedicini on behalf of the EFDD Group
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

European Parliament resolution on Zimbabwe (2019/2563(RSP))  
B8‑0124/2019

The European Parliament,

–    having regard to its previous resolutions on Zimbabwe, in particular those of, 15 September 2016 and of 16 March 2017 on Zimbabwe, the case of Pastor Evan Mawarire and other cases of restriction of freedom of expression;

–   having regard to the Council of the European Union conclusions of 20 January 2015 on the Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy 2015-2019,

–   having regard to the Council of the European Union conclusions of 22 January 2018 on Zimbabwe in light of ongoing political transition,

–   having regard to the Final Report of the EU Election Observation Mission on the Zimbabwe 2018 Harmonised Elections of 30 July 2018, with its 23 recommendations,

–   having regard to the Statement by the Spokesperson on the situation in Zimbabwe of 17 January 2019,

–   having regard to the statement by the Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) of 18 January 2019 on the situation in Zimbabwe,

–   having regard to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission statements on the public protests and conduct by the security forces,

–   having regard to the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum statements on human rights violations during the protests,

–  having regard to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights of June 1981, which Zimbabwe has ratified,

–  having regard to the EU Guidelines on the promotion and protection of freedom of religion or belief,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of December 1948,

–  having regard to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and in particular to its Section 58(1) on freedom of assembly and association, and its Section 59 on the right of everyone to demonstrate and present petitions peacefully

–  having regard to the Cotonou Agreement,

–  having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,  

A.  Whereas, responding to a lawful call by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Zimbabweans civil society mobilized for strike action across the Country, between last14 and 18 January;

 

B.  Whereas Zimbabweans strike has been organized in response to President Mnangagwa’s 150% fuel hike, the latter of a series of measures of economic austerity, rising cost of living and making wages stagnant, affecting their already impoverished households and businesses, and limiting or denying access to basic goods and services;

 

C.  Whereas the government reacted to this lawful protest by unleashing a massive crackdown, deploying the army and security forces;

 

D.   Whereas as a result of the lethal and excessive force used by the army and security forces against protestors, at least 17 people were killed, 81 were treated for gunshot wounds, 343 people suffered severe medical injuries and over 1000 people, including minors between 9 and 16 years old, were arrested;

 

E.   Whereas the authorities, moreover, organized a massive door-to-door search for protestors, dragging from their home peaceful protestors, human rights defenders, political activists, prominent civil society leaders and their relatives and ordered a country-wide shutdown of the internet and other communication means for about three days;

 

F.   Whereas the authorities arbitrarily denied bail to those arrested, including activists and civil society leaders, while hundreds have been convicted in speedy and flawed trials;

 

G.   Whereas other civil society’s activists fled from their homes in fear of persecution and cases are reported where the army and security forces harassed, beaten and abducted their family members in an effort to reveal the whereabouts of the individuals they are looking for;

 

H.   Whereas on 25 January, the government published a list 41 wanted people who participated in the protest and are purportedly accused of looting, inciting violence on social media and destruction of property;

 

I.   Whereas 586 cases of torture are reported and many protesters have been treated for wounds consistent with being dragged in sewage, tarmac, ashes and sharp ends of broken bottles; whereas soldiers are suspected to have used “systematic torture”;

 

J.   Whereas police and military committed at last 13 cases of rape - including that of a 15-year-old girl from Harare - and other forms of sexual assault against women;

 

K.   Whereas the Spokesperson of the Government, George Charamba, is quoted saying on 20 January, that the response by the security forces was “just a foretaste of things to come”;

 

L.   Whereas, on 1 August 2018 a similar pattern of crackdown unleashed by the Government against post-election protests resulted in seven people being killed by the security forces, and to date no one has been brought to justice for the killings; and whereas during the latter elections various abuses of human rights and political rights of the opposition were denounced;

 

M.   Whereas the current situation in Zimbabwe as regards human rights is worsening despite high hopes placed on Zimbabwe’s new political dispensation under recently elected President Mnangagwa;

 

N.  Whereas freedom of assembly, association and expression are essential components of any democracy;

 

O.   Whereas Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Cotonou Agreement, Article 9 of which stipulates that respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms is an essential element of ACP-EU cooperation;

 

1.   Expresses its sympathy to the victims of the civil society and of the people of Zimbabwe and to their families;

 

2.   Deplores the loss of lives during demonstrations in January 2019 and the ongoing widespread human rights violations and abuses committed by Zimbabwean security forces on demonstrators, including arbitrary restrictions on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression; threats to and attacks against human rights defenders and their relatives; the use of torture; the arbitrary denial of bail and other fair trial rights; and the possible use of rape and sexual violence as an instrument of repression;

 

3.   Strongly underlines that expressing opinion in a non-violent way is a constitutional right for all Zimbabwean citizens protected as well under International obligations towards which the government of Zimbabwe is bound; remember to the authorities in charge their obligations to respect and to protect people’s rights to freedom of expression, and to facilitate and protect the right to peaceful assembly;

 

4.   Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to put an immediate end to serious human rights violations and abuses by security forces;

 

5.  Condemns the disproportionate use of force, including live ammunition, by Zimbabwean security forces during protests, which resulted in grave violation of human rights;

 

6.   Deplores the unlawful killings, beatings, abductions, mass arbitrary arrest, rape and torture, some of which involving minors as well as opposition leaders and civil society activists, simply for exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association;

 

7.    Denounces the current deployment of the military as unlawful and calls the Zimbabwean authorities to withdraw these forces from the streets and to let the police undertake policing duties;-

 

8.   Condemns the reliance on internet shutdown as a means to control public space, and restrict and obstruct independent reporting and documentation of abuses during the crackdown; denounce the partisan attitude of Zimbabwe’s state media when reporting recent events;

 

9.  Is deeply concerned with reported violations of due process through fast-tracking and mass trials of people arrested in dragnet arrests; calls to immediately release all those detained for the exercise of their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression, which include opposition leaders and civil society activists; urges the Zimbabwean authorities to release all political prisoners and to return Zimbabwe to the rule of law

 

10.  Calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to show restraint and respect the human rights of all Zimbabwean citizens, including the right to free speech and freedom of assembly;

 

11.   Urges the Zimbabwean authorities to swiftly open a full, transparent, impartial and independent investigation into the human rights violations perpetrated during demonstrations in January 2019, in order to bring to justice the perpetrators of the above referred violations of human rights and with a view to accountability; underlines that the lack of such an independent investigation will easily undermine a consensual, peaceful and inclusive reconciliation and reform process in Zimbabwe;

 

12.  Is concerned with the lack of progress towards implementing recommendations from the EU Election Observation Mission, especially with regard to the rule of law and human rights environment; calls on the EU Delegation in Harare to establish a robust monitoring mechanism of EOM recommendations, with the full participation of all relevant stakeholders including civil society actors;

 

13.  Urges Zimbabwean authorities to work towards an inclusive national dialogue, ensuring the full and unconstrained participation of all relevant stakeholders including civil society actors, overseen by a neutral arbiter; is concerned that this trend of brutal crackdown is likely to continue unless concerted measure is taken;

 

14.  Calls on the EU Delegation in Harare to use all appropriate tools and instruments to support human rights defenders, civil society organizations and trade unions, and to conduct an enhanced political dialogue with the Zimbabwean authorities, as enshrined in Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement;

 

15.   Calls the African Union to include the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe as an agenda item for the 34th Ordinary Session of its Executive Council;

 

16.   Calls on the 32nd Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the African Union, to adopt decision requesting the AU Peace and Security Council to deploy a fact-finding mission devoted to assess the human rights situation in Zimbabwe with a view to proposing recommendations on how to effectively address and end the human rights crisis;

 

17.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the European External Action Service, the Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, the governments of the Southern African Development Community, the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth.

 

Last updated: 12 February 2019Legal notice