Exiting the European Union (Sanctions)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:37 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 6:37 pm, 29th April 2019

The hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. There has been a brutal crackdown on protests, with 2,354 violations of human rights, including 17 deaths and 17 rapes. I hope that the Minister will take that into account and tell us what precisely the Government will do to achieve change. I also want to know whether the Government’s policy on sanctions is being co-ordinated with the policy being run by the Department for International Development to tackle the drought. Obviously, sanctions can be tricky when they are against a country delivering aid, as knowing which transactions can pass through and which cannot can be complicated.

I do not know whether, as well as discussing the sanctions with the European Union, the Minister has been co-ordinating with the African Union. The current position is that Zimbabwe will not be allowed to rejoin the Commonwealth until it improves its human rights record, but will the Minister please tell us the co-ordination mechanism with the African Union?

That brings me to my final general point, which I also raised in our last debate on sanctions. How will we co-ordinate with the European Union after we have left? Everybody in this House fully understands that just one country’s sanctions cannot be effective. This only works when we have co-ordination internationally. Sometimes that co-ordination is at the UN level and sometimes, as in the case of these regimes, it is at the European level, but the Minister has not as yet been able to tell us what co-ordination mechanisms the Government are planning post Brexit. It would be interesting to know from him what he envisages, both in the scenario of leaving with a deal and in the case of leaving without a deal.