The European Union (EU ) has renewed its two-decades-long sanctions against Zimbabwe over human rights violations. Zimbabwe has been under EU’s targeted sanctions since 2002 when the late former president Robert Mugabe won a controversial election. EU sites, there hasn’t been any change even with his successor Emmerson Mnangagwa.
While Mnangagwa has pushed for the normalization of ties in the bloc, nothing has changed so far which has pushed for the extension of the sanctions.
EU says the situation in terms of respect for human rights is yet to improve in Zimbabwe. Further, there’s
“Intimidation of political opposition and other government critics has continued to restrict the democratic and civic space, which is under threat of shrinking further through the Data Protection Act and ongoing legislative processes such as the Private Voluntary Organizations Amendment Bill and the envisaged so-called Patriotic Act. The EU is concerned about these developments.” According to the East African.
Notably, Mnangagwa’s government has rolled out several laws that target its critics, the civil society and the media. He has also failed to bring human rights perpetrators into the security forces.
President Mnangagwa has also been accused of trying to turn Zimbabwe into a one-party state by continually intimidating and dismantling the opposition parties.
The new sanctions explained
The new EU sanctions on Zimbabwe include an arms embargo and asset freeze against the Zimbabwe Defence Industries which is a state-owned arms manufacturer.
But initiating the sanctions, the EU wants international human rights obligations to be adhered to and the constitutional rights of the people of Zimbabwe respected.
“In this light, the EU recalls the purpose of its restrictive measures, which 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.”
While Zimbabwe has attributed its long-running economic crisis to the sanctions by Western countries which also includes the UK and the United States, the measures are targeted and very limited and they do not affect the people of Zimbabwe, its economy, foreign direct investments or trade.
“Zimbabwe continues to benefit from duty free and quota access of its exports to the EU, while negotiations are ongoing to deepen the Eastern and Southern African (ESA) Economic Partnership Agreement.”
The EU also lifted suspended travel bans and asset freezes against Zimbabwe’s Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, army chief Phillip Valerio Sibanda and former first lady Grace Mugabe.