Zimbabwe — [Mrs Anne Main in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:30 pm on 30th January 2019.

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Photo of Liz McInnes Liz McInnes Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 3:30 pm, 30th January 2019

My hon. Friend makes an important point. I am sure the Minister will be able to respond to that question. It is my understanding that the majority of DFID funding goes to NGOs, not directly to Governments. I hope that will help ensure that the aid reaches the people it needs to reach.

Many have spoken about the application for Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth. Rejoining would have benefits for Zimbabwe. It would vastly improve its relationship with our country and countries around the world, but we cannot just gift Commonwealth membership to Zimbabwe. A return to the Commonwealth must be conditional on Zimbabwe’s resolving its infringements of the Harare declaration of 1991. It would help if the Minister could explain whether her Government will prioritise human rights and do what they can to ensure that Zimbabwe is not allowed to rejoin the Commonwealth until its Government implement significant reforms and stop the violent crackdowns by security forces on the public that we have seen in the past two weeks.

I am pleased to hear that the Minister met the Zimbabwean ambassador recently, and I am sure she will elaborate on the outcome of that meeting. Will she say what she has been doing with our partners in Europe and with the African Union to ensure that the programme of reform for Zimbabwe outlined 12 months ago at the EU-AU summit is maintained? Finally, I know she met the EU and the African Union last week. What action is planned for Zimbabwe? In addition, what specific action will the UK Government take?