Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 23rd June 2009.

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Photo of Keith Simpson Keith Simpson Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the treatment of supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe since the formation of the unity government; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Ivan Lewis Ivan Lewis Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

We remain in regular contact with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and human rights groups in Zimbabwe. At present we are monitoring the trials of the MDC supporters who were abducted in late 2008. We are also investigating reports that three other MDC supporters were recently abducted in order to persuade them to testify on behalf of the prosecution.

At the formation of the Inclusive Government in February 2009, approximately seventy political prisoners were in custody. Although all have now been released on bail, they are under extremely strict bail conditions, living in fear of re-arrest and suffering continued harassment by state authorities. We remain deeply concerned about the fate of seven missing MDC activists, abducted in late 2008. The state have always denied knowledge of their whereabouts.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has stated that human rights and the rule of law are among the key areas where progress is needed before there can be full international re-engagement with Zimbabwe. Together with our international partners, we continue to closely monitor the situation on the ground and urge the Inclusive Government to respect the commitments they made in their Global Political Agreement.

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