Home » General » Text adopted – Human rights: Zimbabwe – P5_TA(2002)0131 – Thursday, 14 March 2002 – Strasbourg – Final edition

The European Parliament ,

–  having regard to its resolutions of 13 April 2000(1) , 18 May 2000(2) , 6 July 2000(3) , 15 March 2001(4) , 6 September 2001(5) and 13 December 2001(6) on the situation in Zimbabwe,

–  having regard to the agreement reached in Abuja on 6 September 2001 between the Committee of the Commonwealth Foreign Ministers, including a number of African states, and the Zimbabwean Government to return Zimbabwe to the rule of law and end all illegal occupations of farmland and to take forward the process of land reform,

–  having regard to the decision of the General Affairs Council on 28 January 2002 to close its Cotonou consultations with Zimbabwe and on 18 February 2002 to introduce a package of targeted sanctions,

–  having regard to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Coolum, Australia, from 2 to 5 March 2002,

A.  whereas the presidential election in Zimbabwe took place between 9 and 11 March 2002,

B.  whereas the adoption of repressive legislation - the Public Order and Security Act, the General Laws Amendment Act, and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act - severely restricted the ability of opposition politicians to conduct a free and fair election campaign, and seriously undermined the freedom of the local, national and international media to report objectively,

C.  whereas freedom of speech, including freedom of the press and broadcasting to provide balanced and impartial coverage of the election campaign, was significantly impaired,

D.  whereas the Zimbabwean Government encouraged the police to use new powers to cancel rallies organised by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and prevent the dissemination of MDC campaign literature, and seconded 72 senior army officers to the Electoral Supervisory Commission – a move that stunned civil society,

E.  whereas out of 15 000 local independent election observers within the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, only a few received accreditation from the government to monitor the election,

F.  having regard to the withdrawal of the EU election observation mission to Zimbabwe after unacceptable obstructions were placed in its way by the Zimbabwean authorities, including the expulsion of the EU's chief observer, Pierre Schori, on 16 February 2002 and the harassment and obstruction that impeded the work of other observation missions from Norway, the Commonwealth and elsewhere,

G.  whereas the EU imposed targeted sanctions in the form of an arms embargo, a visa ban and a freeze on the overseas assets of President Mugabe and 19 close associates with effect from 18 February 2002,

H.  whereas the UN World Food Programme has stated that the needs of 558 000 malnourished Zimbabweans are becoming increasingly urgent as drought and food shortages continue,

I.  whereas economic problems in Zimbabwe are such that inflation is running at 116.7% and unemployment at a record 60%, over 80% of Zimbabwe's 15 million people are living below the poverty line, the education and health systems are crumbling and over 2 000 Zimbabweans are dying each week from AIDS, and the outlook for the economy is looking even more dismal in the light of the election outcome,

J.  whereas the leaders of many African states have failed to condemn President Mugabe's contempt for the Zimbabwean people and his blatant obstruction of the democratic process,

K.  whereas the chairman of the Zimbabwean Electoral Support Network has characterised the electoral process as flawed and a potential cause for conflict, and one which has violated almost every electoral norm laid down by the Southern African Development Community,

L.  whereas the 25 Norwegian election observers have documented sustained harassment and violence against opposition officials, members and supporters, and have concluded that the presidential elections were conducted in an environment of strong polarisation, political violence and an election administration with severe shortcomings,

M.  whereas the low turnouts in the cities, traditional areas of opposition support, and massive turnouts in rural areas are unprecedented and suggest widespread ballot rigging,

1.  Condemns the political intimidation of opposition leaders and voters, the restrictions imposed on local and international observers and blatant vote rigging, and concludes that the presidential election in Zimbabwe was certainly not free and fair;

2.  Points to the forthcoming meeting of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Cape Town from 18 to 21 March 2002;

3.  Applauds those politicians and citizens of Zimbabwe who, often in fear of their lives, have consistently stood up for freedom of expression and democratic values and have sought democratic change in order to promote the well-being of all Zimbabweans;

4.  Urges the EU and the international community as a whole not to recognise the legitimacy of the Zimbabwean presidential election outcome;

5.  Calls on the Council to respond with further measures against the Mugabe government, including an extension of the EU's blacklist, on which President Mugabe and 19 ZANU-PF insiders figure, to include Zimbabwe's Vice-Presidents and the finance minister and others;

6.  Insists that assets held overseas by Zimbabwean leaders as a result of their exploitation of their power in Zimbabwe and neighbouring countries should be traced and set aside for the benefit of the people of Zimbabwe;

7.  Welcomes the decision by the United States to 'move rapidly' to implement a similar package of targeted sanctions, and urges other countries and international organisations to follow suit;

8.  Urges South Africa, in particular, to show real regional leadership and to take strong action in favour of democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe, given the impact that the deteriorating situation is having on the stability of the southern African region as a whole;

9.  Calls for swift robust action by the AU, the SADC and the Commonwealth, including by the troika appointed at the Coolum Heads of Government summit;

10.  Calls on the Barcelona European Council of 15 and 16 March 2002 to seize the opportunity to deliberate on how to strengthen and consolidate the measures already in place to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe;

11.  Calls upon the EU and the wider international Community to provide large-scale assistance to Zimbabwe, including support for a legal land reform process, when it is evident that democracy, human rights and the rule of law are re-established following free and fair elections;

12.  Urges the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly to demonstrate its commitment to democratic values and condemn the flawed electoral process that has taken place in Zimbabwe;

13.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the Member States and candidate countries, the government and parliament of Zimbabwe, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, the Secretary-General of the AU, the Secretary-General of the SADC, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the President of the World Bank.

(1) OJ C 40, 7.2.2001, p. 425.
(2) OJ C 59, 23.2.2001, p. 241.
(3) OJ C 121, 24.4.2001, p. 394.
(4) OJ C 343, 5.12.2001, p. 304.
(5) Texts Adopted, Item 13.
(6) Texts Adopted, Item 18.