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    MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on Zimbabwe: Detention of human rights activists

    5.2.2013 - (2013/2536(RSP))

    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 122 of the Rules of Procedure

    Ana Gomes, Richard Howitt, Ricardo Cortés Lastra, Michael Cashman, Norbert Neuser, Mitro Repo, Joanna Senyszyn, Liisa Jaakonsaari, Patrice Tirolien on behalf of the S&D Group

    See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0057/2013

    NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.
    Proċedura : 2013/2536(RSP)
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    European Parliament resolution on Zimbabwe: Detention of human rights activists


    The European Parliament,

    -          having regard to its previous resolutions on Zimbabwe;


    -          having regard to the Partnership Agreement between the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific ( ACP ) Group of States, of the one part, and the European Community, on the other part, signed in Cotonou on 23 June 2000 (the Cotonou Agreement);  


    -           having regard to the Council conclusions on Zimbabwe of 23 July 2012 and to Council Implementing Decision 2012/124/CFSP concerning restrictive measures against Zimbabwe;


    -           having regard to the African Charter of Human and Peoples’ Rights, which Zimbabwe has ratified;


    -           having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure.



    A.       whereas there has been a marked increase in intimidation, arbitrary arrests and judicial harassment of human rights activists in the country;



    B.        whereas in the country including Mr. Okay Machisa, National Executive Director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights), Mr. Leo Chamahwinya, Education Programs Officer, Ms. Dorcas Shereni, member and Highfields local chapter Chairperson, and Secretary Ms. Faith Mamutse;



    C.       whereas on the 14 January the police arrested Okay Machisa, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) , and on 16 January he was denied bail and remanded in custody until 30 January; whereas he was charged with forgery and conspiracy to commit fraud and alternatively publishing falsehoods prejudicial to the state;


    D.       whereas on the 29 January Okay Machisa, was granted bail by the High Court subject to depositing security in the form of immovable property worth above USD 50,000 which came as an additional condition to those offered by the defence lawyer in its application, which included a payment of USD 500;


    E.        whereas on the 13 December 2012 the authorities arrested Leo Chamahwinya, Deputy National Programme Coordinator, on charges of conducting illegal voter registration, whereas he has been detained since then together with Mrs. Dorcas Shereni;


    F.        whereas all these arrests occurred just a few weeks after ZimRights denounced the trend of increasing police brutality across Zimbabwe and called for urgent action by competent authorities to address these human rights violations;


    G.       whereas the Zimbabwean NGOs which were raided by police in 2012 include Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights), Counselling Services Unit (CSU), Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Election Resource Centre (ERC), and Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ);


    H.      whereas Zimbabwe has failed to make the key reforms such as amending repressive laws, adopting by referendum a new constitution, reforming the justice system which are essential to ensuring a free and fair presidential election later this year;


    I.         whereas, although the current situation in Zimbabwe with regard to human rights and democracy has shown some signs of improvement, there remain many challenges for future cooperation between the Union and Zimbabwe, notably the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and an end to all forms of harassment and human rights abuses;


    J.         whereas provisions regarding good governance, transparency in political offices and human rights laid down in the Cotonou agreement have to be respected;


    K.       whereas the economic recovery of the country is still fragile and certain State policies represents a threat for the future economic relations between the Union and Zimbabwe;



    1.  Calls upon the authorities of Zimbabwe to release all human rights defenders detained for exercising human rights activities, to end judicial harassment and fully to investigate abuses faced by human rights defenders;


    2.  Calls upon the authorities to release Ms. Dorcas Shereni and Mr. Leo Chamahwinya immediately and unconditionally;


    3.  Urges the authorities to guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Messrs. Okay Machisa, Leo Chamahwinya, Ms. Dorcas Shereni and Ms. Faith Mamutse, and to put an end to any kind of harassment - including at the judicial level – against members of ZimRights as well as against all human rights defenders in Zimbabwe;


    4. Calls on the Zimbabwean government to stop resorting to legislation that repress and restricts all fundamental freedoms as well as encouraging and condoning serious violations of the rights of human rights defenders, including arbitrary arrests or acts of torture;

    5.  Urges the government of Zimbabwe to take all the necessary steps to ensure that human rights defenders are able to operate efficiently and without any harassment and intimidation ;

    6.  Stresses that freedom of assembly, association and expression are essential components of democracy to which Zimbabwe fully committed itself under the GPA;

    7.  Stresses that under the circumstances the suspension of EU development cooperation (under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement) should be maintained, but that the EU remains committed in its support for the local population;

    8.  Supports the targeted measures the EU currently has in place, which are a response to the political and human rights situation in Zimbabwe, with annual decisions allowing the EU to keep senior figures in the Zimbabwean Government under constant review;

    9.  Calls on the Zimbabwean Government to take the necessary steps, including restoration of the rule of law, democracy and respect for human rights and, in particular, a peaceful and credible constitutional referendum and electoral preparations that meet recognised international standards, to enable the targeted measures to be suspended.

    10.  Deplores the absence of a strong human rights clause in the interim EPA concluded with 4 Eastern and Southern African States, including Zimbabwe; repeats its call for trade agreements concluded by the EU to include binding and non-negotiable human rights clauses; urges the European Commission to make this a priority in the continuing negotiations for a full EPA with the ESA States.

    11.  Considers the entry into force of the Human Rights Commission Act in Zimbabwe as an encouraging step by the government with a view to improving the human rights situation in that country and as a step forward as part of the agreed roadmap for peaceful and credible elections;

    12.  Calls on the EU delegation in Harare to continue to offer its assistance to Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity in order to improve the human rights situation with a view to peaceful and credible elections in line with the standards the EU would expect of any of its trading partners;

    13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission, the Council, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the European External Action Service, the Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe and the governments of the Southern African Development Community.