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EU renews embargo on human rights abuses




HARARE, Zimbabwe

The EU on Friday renewed its arms embargo and asset freeze against the Zimbabwean Defense Industries (ZDI), citing a lack of substantive reforms and continuing human rights violations in the South African country.

Expressing its concerns about the arrests of journalists and opposition actors, the EU in Zimbabwe said on Twitter that it had “renewed its arms embargo and maintained a freeze on assets targeted against Zimbabwe Industrial Defense, also based on the need continue to investigate the role of security forces in human rights abuses. “

On August 1, 2018, the Zimbabwean army shot and killed civilians after suspected members of the opposition stormed the streets of the Zimbabwean capital Harare, demanding the immediate release of the presidential election results, which they thought had been manipulated after a long period of ousting the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe in a military coup last year.

In January 2019, 17 civilians were killed by soldiers following a protest against the fuel price hike announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

On 1 February, Britain announced its first set of sanctions against individuals under the UK Zimbabwe sanctions regime for human rights violations.

Britain’s new sanctions against Zimbabwe included a travel ban and asset freeze on State Security Minister Owen Ncube and Isaac Moyo, director general of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Godwin Matanga, general commissioner of the Republic of Zimbabwe Police, as well as former Brig. General Anselem Sanyatwe, who was also commander of the Presidential Guard and tactical commander of the National Response Force, was also hit by the new UK sanctions.

In a statement, the EU said: “The aim of the EU restrictive measures is to encourage a demonstrable, genuine and long-term commitment by the Zimbabwean authorities to respect and uphold human rights and the rule of law.

“The lack of substantial reforms has allowed the humanitarian, economic and social situation to continue to deteriorate. Human rights violations and restrictions in the democratic space are also continuing. ”

Announcing its further embargo on the impoverished African nation, the EU, however, said it “welcomes further opportunities for continued dialogue and engagement with Zimbabwe and reiterates its ambition for a more constructive relationship”.

Confused by the deteriorating human rights in the country, the EU also said it was “particularly concerned about the spread of arrests and prosecutions of journalists, opposition actors and individuals who express differing views”.

Although Zimbabwean authorities claimed that sanctions continued to impoverish citizens here, the EU said: “These measures do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investment or trade.”

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