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Thursday, 18 December 2008 - Strasbourg

European Parliament resolution of 18 December 2008 on the situation in Zimbabwe

The European Parliament,

-   having regard to its previous resolutions on Zimbabwe, most recently that of 10 July 2008 on the situation in Zimbabwe(1),

-   having regard to Council Common Position 2008/135/CFSP of 18 February 2008 renewing restrictive measures against Zimbabwe(2) which renewed, until 20 February 2009, the restrictive measures against Zimbabwe imposed under Council Common Position 2004/161/CFSP of 19 February 2004(3), to Commission Regulation (EC) No 1226/2008 of 8 December 2008 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 314/2004 concerning certain restrictive measures in respect of Zimbabwe(4), and to the European Council conclusions of 11-12 December 2008 on Zimbabwe, in which serious concerns were expressed over the worsening humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe,

-   having regard to the resolution on the situation in Zimbabwe adopted by the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly on 28 November 2008,

-   having regard to the report of the Pan-African Parliament Election Observer Mission on the harmonised elections held in Zimbabwe on 29 March 2008,

-   having regard to the resolution on Zimbabwe adopted at the 11th African Union Summit, held in Sharm el-Sheikh on 30 June-1 July 2008,

-   having regard to the agreement of 15 September 2008 between the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on resolving the challenges facing Zimbabwe,

-   having regard to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Treaty and the Protocols thereto, including the SADC Electoral Protocol,

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

A.   whereas Zimbabwe is facing a humanitarian crisis of massive proportions, with 5,1 million people, almost half the population, facing hunger; whereas an outbreak of cholera, the result of the breakdown of basic water and sanitation services, has killed at least 783 people and infected over 16 400 people in Zimbabwe, and whereas more than 300 000 people seriously weakened by lack of food are in grave danger from the epidemic,

B.   whereas the Zimbabwean authorities have made it clear that they cannot end the humanitarian crisis and will not end the violent repression of their opponents; whereas there is a clear link between the humanitarian catastrophe and the crisis of governance provoked by the failure of Robert Mugabe to conduct fair and credible elections and to respect the political agreement of 15 September 2008 on the principle of forming a government of national unity with a view to ending the crisis, achieved despite the mediation attempts of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,

C.   whereas the inflation rate is estimated to be in the region of several billion per cent - the highest in the world - and whereas 80% of the population live on less than USD 1 a day, without access to basic commodities such as food and water,

D.   whereas, according to the international medical humanitarian organisation, Médecins Sans Frontières, at least 1,4 million people are at risk of contracting cholera if the outbreak is not contained by addressing its root causes; whereas the outbreak is spreading to South Africa and Botswana,

E.   whereas the combination of economic, political and social crises has taken a particular toll on women and girls, and whereas they are particularly at risk of cholera infection because of their responsibility for the home-based care of the sick,

F.   whereas life expectancy in Zimbabwe has dropped from 60 years for both sexes to 37 years for men and 34 for women in the past decade; whereas 1,7 million people are now living with HIV in Zimbabwe,

G.   whereas behind the political crisis and health emergency there is a worsening human rights crisis in Zimbabwe, the most recent development being the unprecedented spate of abductions of human rights defenders, such as Jestina Mukoko, whose disappearance was part of a pattern of harassment and intimidation of human rights activists, carried out by people suspected of working on behalf of the Zimbabwean authorities,

H.   whereas, according to UNICEF, only an estimated 40% of the country's teachers are working, and only a third of pupils reporting for classes; whereas teachers, like doctors and nurses, have been on periodic strikes and have been violently repressed by police for exercising their right to demonstrate peacefully,

I.   whereas "The Elders", comprising former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former US President Jimmy Carter and the advocate of women's and children's rights, Graça Machel, have been refused entry into Zimbabwe,

J.   whereas a number of African leaders, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Botswana's President, Ian Khama, and Kenya's Prime Minister, Raila Odinga, have called for Mr Mugabe to step down,

K.   whereas on 8 December 2008, during a celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, President Sarkozy of France, on behalf of the EU, called on Mr Mugabe to step down, stating that he "has taken the people of Zimbabwe hostage" and that "the people of Zimbabwe have the right to freedom, security and respect",

L.   whereas Zimbabwe is close to meeting the criteria for invoking the declaration, endorsed at the UN Summit in September 2005, that there is an international "responsibility to protect" people facing crimes against humanity,

1.  Expresses its deep concern at the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, the cholera epidemic, the hunger and the complete refusal of the Mugabe regime to respond positively to the crisis; calls on the Council and Commission to reaffirm their commitment to the Zimbabwean people through a substantial, long-term programme of humanitarian aid;

2.  Notes that the European Union has just released EUR 10 million in aid and calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to lift all restrictions on humanitarian aid agencies and to ensure that humanitarian aid can be delivered in accordance with the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence;

3.  Strongly supports the efforts of the above-mentioned Elders delegation to ease Zimbabwe's humanitarian crisis; regards it as totally unacceptable that the members of this delegation were denied an entry visa by Mugabe's regime, since they wished to use their influence to increase the immediate and longer-term flow of assistance to the country and so end the terrible suffering of the people of Zimbabwe;

4.  Firmly condemns the continuing violence perpetrated by the Mugabe regime against members and supporters of the MDC; is outraged by the spate of recent abductions of human rights defenders and calls for the immediate release of Jestina Mukoko, the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), of Zacharia Nkomo, the brother of the leading human rights lawyer Harrison Nkomo, of Broderick Takawira, a provincial coordinator of the ZPP, of Pascal Gonzo, a driver at ZPP, and of a number of members of the MDC and civil society activists, and calls for the perpetrators of these abductions to be held to account;

5.  Welcomes the recent extension of the Union's list of banned individuals in the Mugabe regime, and calls for further names of key Mugabe loyalists to be added thereto, including that of Florence Chitauro, a former senior ZANU-PF minister, who is now believed to be living in London, refusing to condemn Mr Mugabe and travelling to and from Zimbabwe without hindrance;

6.  Calls on the UN Security Council to consider imposing targeted sanctions (travel bans and asset freezes) on Mr Mugabe and persons actively engaged in violence or human rights infringements; in particular calls on China, Russia and South Africa to support strong measures against the Mugabe regime in the UN Security Council and to indicate to African governments that they are no longer willing to lend any support to the Mugabe regime;

7.  Applauds the integrity of the governments of Kenya, Botswana and Zambia for speaking out against Mr Mugabe, and expresses its profound disappointment that so many other African governments are still prepared to turn a blind eye to the evils of his regime;

8.  Stresses the Zimbabwean people's desperate need for political change and condemns Mr Mugabe's refusal to implement the agreement he signed on 15 September 2008 to hand over key ministries to Morgan Tsvangirai's party, or to usher in political reform;

9.  Expresses grave concern that the desperate need for immediate, radical and democratic change for the Zimbabwean people continues to be frustrated by the oppressive, manipulative, and self-serving Mugabe regime;

10.  Urgently calls for increased pressure by African countries and regional institutions, including the SADC and, in particular, by the African Union as a guarantor of the 15 September 2008 agreement, as well as by eminent Africans, to secure a fair, just solution to the Zimbabwe situation based on the credible elections held in March 2008, and to monitor any political agreement in a balanced way;

11.  Calls on the Council to encourage the African Union to prepare contingencies for active intervention, in order to protect the civilian population of Zimbabwe;

12.  Calls on the Council to remain vigilant in relation to the possible consequences for the region of ZANU-PF's deliberate neglect and misgovernance that is destabilising Zimbabwe;

13.  Expresses deep concern at the situation of Zimbabwean refugees in the region and deplores the acts of violence against Zimbabwean refugees in neighbouring countries; calls on the Commission to support those neighbouring countries by implementing financial and material assistance programmes for the refugees;

14.  Strongly appeals to all stakeholders and the international community to be prepared to support the economic and social recovery of Zimbabwe once a government has been formed which genuinely reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people at all levels and once there are tangible signs of a return to respect for democracy, human rights and rule of law;

15.  Calls on the Council and the Member States to step up their diplomatic action in Africa in order to secure active support for change in Zimbabwe;

16.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States, the governments of the G8 countries, the governments and parliaments of Zimbabwe and South Africa, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the chairpersons of the Commission and Executive Council of the African Union, the Pan-African Parliament and the Secretary-General and governments of the SADC and its Parliamentary Forum.

(1) Texts adopted, P6_TA(2008)0364.
(2) OJ L 43, 19.2.2008, p. 39.
(3) OJ L 50, 20.2.2004, p. 66.
(4) OJ L 331, 10.12.2008, p. 11.

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