Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Detention of human rights activists in Zimbabwe

Delivered in Plenary - 7th February 2013

Mr President

It is an oft-peddled cliché that Zimbabwe travelled in the course of a few years from bread-basket to basket case. Certainly 10 years ago it stared into an economic abyss as Mugabe’s tyrannical regime impoverished, suppressed and exploited his own people. The days of hyperinflation and land expropriation now appear to be over, but few are claiming that the ZANU-MDC coalition has brought real positive changes to the country or that the expropriated farmers have been adequately compensated, some of whom live in my constituency of London.

Mugabe, now approaching 90 years old and in power for 33 years, continues to oppress dissidents, both in the political realm and in civil society. The Zimbabwe and Human Rights Commission is unable to freely go about its work, while NGOs continue to be raided and obstructed and human rights activists are harassed and arrested.

As this resolution makes clear, the corrupted justice system still overwhelmingly favours ZANU-PF. Let us therefore encourage Zimbabwean organisations in their human rights work and do all we can in this House to pressure the government to release all those human rights activists who are detained.