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Thursday, 7 July 2005 - Strasbourg

European Parliament resolution on Zimbabwe

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Zimbabwe, including most recently that of 16 December 2004(1),

–   having regard to Council Common Position 2005/146/CFSP of 21 February 2005 extending Common Position 2004/161/CFSP renewing restrictive measures against Zimbabwe(2) and Commission Regulation (EC) No 898/2005 of 15 June 2005 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 314/2004 concerning certain restrictive measures in respect of Zimbabwe(3),

–   having regard to Rule 115(5) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.   whereas on 19 May 2005 the Mugabe regime intensified its oppression of the people of Zimbabwe by the brutal destruction of thousands of homes in Harare, Bulawayo and other urban areas in the so-called 'Operation Drive Out Rubbish', to the extent that over 200 000 people, according to UN estimates, are now without shelter or livelihood, and whereas many of those that have been evicted are living on the banks of the Mukluvisi River in conditions conducive to the spread of disease,

B.   whereas those loyal to Mugabe had consolidated their power in the flawed parliamentary elections of 31 March 2005, elections which were marred by oppression and intimidation and failed to meet internationally acceptable democratic standards,

C.   whereas G8 leaders are meeting at Gleneagles on 6-8 July 2005 and the British Presidency of the G8 has put assistance to Africa at the top of its agenda; whereas the Live8 campaign has focused additional attention on the problems of Africa, including the need for good governance,

D.   whereas on 24 May 2005 EU Development Ministers agreed to increase EU aid to 0.56 % Gross National Income by 2010, in order to reach 0.7 % by 2015 in furtherance of the Millennium Development Goals; whereas the increase is estimated to amount to an additional EUR 20 billion annually by 2010,

E.   whereas aid alone can achieve little in Africa without good governance, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and the attitude of African governments to developments in Zimbabwe is a key indicator of their commitment to such values,

F.   whereas previously Zimbabwe had a successful economy, exported food to other African countries and was in a position to assist its weaker neighbours in overcoming their difficulties, but is now a failed state with millions of its people reliant on food aid from the international community,

G.   whereas the UN World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that Zimbabwe will require 1.8 million metric tons of cereal to feed 4 million of its people who are suffering from malnutrition and are at risk of starvation, while Zimbabwe's domestic production capacity is now only between 400 000 and 600 000 metric tons of cereal,

H.   whereas the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has indicated that Zimbabwe's arrears to the IMF amount to US Dollar 295 million and that the Mugabe regime's urban clearance, along with declining agricultural output, will cause inflation to increase yet further, leading to an even deeper economic crisis,

I.   whereas companies from EU Member States are continuing to purchase produce that is believed to originate from farms under the direct control of the Mugabe regime,

J.   whereas the African Union has refused to intervene to put a stop to Mugabe's brutal oppression and whereas the South African President, Thabo Mbeki, has declined even to criticise Mugabe's actions, let alone take tangible measures against his regime,

K.   whereas the Southern African Development Community (SADC) continues to maintain a regional peacekeeping training centre in Harare,

L.   whereas, when renewing the targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime in February 2005, the Council committed itself to a further review of those sanctions 'in the light of the parliamentary election which will take place in Zimbabwe in March 2005',

M.   whereas the EU travel ban against Zimbabwe was extended on 15 June 2005 to include some 120 members of the Mugabe regime; whereas this extension will have little impact without rigorous enforcement of the sanctions; whereas the Council has imposed no other measures against the Mugabe regime since the 31 March 2005 fraudulent election or following the most recent bout of oppression,

N.   whereas Roy Bennett, a former MP belonging to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was released from prison on 28 June 2005 following 8 months' imprisonment in appalling conditions,

O.   whereas the next EU General Affairs and External Relations Council (GAERC) will take place on 18-19 July 2005 and provides an opportunity for action,

1.  At a time when the international community is giving priority to Africa, condemns the Mugabe regime for the intensification of its oppression of the Zimbabwean people, and expresses its deep disappointment at the refusal of other African governments, particularly South Africa, SADC and the African Union to criticise Mugabe's actions or to take action against his regime;

2.  Urges the G8 to insist upon a clear demonstration on the part of African regional organisations and nations of their commitment to good governance, tackling corruption, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as well as economic progress, and regards Zimbabwe as the test case in this regard;

3.  Demands an immediate end to the Mugabe regime's mass forced evictions and insists that unrestricted access be granted to relief and humanitarian agencies assisting those internally displaced by 'Operation Drive Out Rubbish';

4.  Insists that aid must be made available to the Zimbabwean people through non-governmental organisations and calls on the Commission to do its utmost to ensure that the delivery of aid is not hampered by the Mugabe regime;

5.  Calls for the establishment of an international committee of inquiry to investigate the use of food and shelter as political weapons;

6.  Deplores the weak stance of the African Union, in particular South Africa and a number of Zimbabwe's other neighbours, in turning a blind eye to the daily oppression of the people of Zimbabwe and the destruction of that country's economy; reminds the South African Government of its special responsibility vis-à-vis its neighbour Zimbabwe and calls on it to strive to ensure that the Mugabe regime stops the forced evictions immediately;

7.  Calls upon SADC to close its regional peacekeeping training centre in Harare as an indication of its willingness to exert pressure on the Mugabe regime;

8.  Refuses to recognise the result of the deeply flawed election of 31 March 2005 which failed to meet internationally accepted democratic standards, including those of SADC;

9.  Deplores the failure of the Council to respond to Parliament's consistent calls for increased pressure on against the Mugabe regime;

10.  Insists, in the light of the situation in Zimbabwe and the desire of the people of our countries for support for Africa, that the Council take serious action to bring about change for the better in Zimbabwe; calls, in this regard, on the Council to close loopholes in existing EU-targeted sanctions and make a clear commitment to their rigorous enforcement on the part of all Member States;

11.  Urges that these measures include the curtailment of all economic links with Zimbabwe that directly benefit the regime (such as trade with farms controlled by regime members), the identification and imposition of measures against those providing financial backing for the anti-democratic activities of the regime (in cooperation with the United States and Commonwealth countries), and the prevention of family members of Mugabe's henchmen from gaining access to employment and educational institutions in EU Member States;

12.  Calls for the appointment of an EU Special Envoy for Zimbabwe to galvanise action among African states (in cooperation with the United States and Commonwealth countries) and for the suspension of the return of Zimbabwean asylum-seekers from Member States until the situation in Zimbabwe improves;

13.  Calls upon companies in EU Member States trading with Zimbabwe to employ transparent business practices, to refuse to enter into contracts with those that have been party to Mugabe's land seizure programme, and to act in ways that will be of benefit to the people of Zimbabwe and not the Mugabe regime;

14.  Endorses the President of the Commission's expression of disappointment at the failure of the African Union and of South Africa to respond to the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe, and insists that in its forthcoming 'Strategy for Africa' the Commission take ample account of this resolution;

15.  Calls upon the UN Security Council to give serious and urgent attention to the oppression taking place in Zimbabwe and to examine the extent to which those responsible can be held accountable;

16.  Welcomes the release of Roy Bennett from prison but deplores his appalling treatment at the hands of the Mugabe regime and calls for the release of the other 30 000 innocent victims imprisoned following 'Operation Drive Out Rubbish';

17.  Calls for Robert Mugabe to stand down and for the establishment of a transitional government in Zimbabwe involving opposition groups and other persons of goodwill in order to restore acceptable standards of governance in Zimbabwe and remedy the broken economy and the human rights situation;

18.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States, the governments of the G8 countries, the Government and Parliament of Zimbabwe, the Government and Parliament of South Africa, the Secretary General of the Commonwealth, the UN Secretary-General, the Chairpersons of the Commission and Executive Council of the African Union and the Secretary-General of SADC.

(1) Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2004)0112.
(2) OJ L 49, 22.2.2005, p. 30.
(3) OJ L 153, 16.6.2005, p. 9.

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