Zimbabwe: Human Rights

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 12th October 2020.

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Photo of Navendu Mishra Navendu Mishra Labour, Stockport

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what recent steps the Government has taken to advocate for human rights in Zimbabwe.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK is deeply concerned by the human rights environment in Zimbabwe that includes the abduction, arrest and assault of civil society, trade union and opposition activists. Zimbabwe remains one of the UK's 30 human rights priority countries globally. I regularly engage with the Government of Zimbabwe to raise serious concerns about the political, economic and human rights situation in Zimbabwe. We have been clear that the Government of Zimbabwe must meet its international and domestic obligations by respecting the rule of law, safeguarding human rights, and committing to genuine political and economic reform for the benefit of all Zimbabweans. When I wrote to Foreign Minister Moyo on 12 August, following a telephone call with him on 8 June, I raised specific human rights violations and made it clear that the UK has yet to see meaningful progress on human rights. Until this changes, further UK support for Zimbabwe would not be possible.

The UK Government published the Annual Human Rights Report for 2019 in July. This report includes a section outlining our considerable concern around the current human rights environment in Zimbabwe. It also outlines the extensive financial and technical support the UK gives to civil society organisations who help Zimbabwean citizens hold the state to account. We do not publicise our partners to avoid putting them at risk, in itself an indictment of the situation in Zimbabwe. We will continue call on the Government of Zimbabwe to uphold the rule of law. This includes respecting the Zimbabwean Constitution which clearly prohibits enforced disappearances, cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment. The UK will also continue to work alongside the international community to support good governance, respect for human rights, and genuine political and economic reform in Zimbabwe, to help secure a better future for all Zimbabweans.

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