from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare
HARARE – THE United Kingdom (UK) will impose further sanctions against perpetrators of human rights violations in Zimbabwe as infringements persist in the Southern African country.
The UK stated this was part of broader efforts in 2021 to hold the government of President Emmerson Mnangagwa to account for the abuses.
This would be done by “raising these both publicly and privately with the Government and through the targeted designation of individuals under the UK’s autonomous Zimbabwe sanctions regime.”
“We shall also continue to support CSOs working to identify human rights violations and providing support to victims and human rights defenders,” the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office stated in its Human Rights and Democracy Report 2020.
Released on Friday, it is a summary of activity in 2020 by the office and its diplomatic network to defend human rights and promote democracy worldwide.
“The human rights situation in Zimbabwe did not improve in 2020,” the UK office stated.
It quoted the human rights monitoring group, Zimbabwe Peace Project, which recorded 2 825 human rights violations in 2020, similar to the total in 2019.
The majority of violations were due to heavy-handed policing of COVID-19 regulations by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), as well as targeted abductions, arbitrary arrests, and detentions linked to planned protests in July.
Relations between UK and its former colony (Zimbabwe) have deteriorated since the turn of the millennium after the European government imposed sanctions over alleged abuses and electoral fraud by Zimbabwe.
In the Human Rights and Democracy Report 2020, Zimbabwe is listed alongside Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Somalia and South Sudan as Human Rights Priority countries.
Mnangagwa this week slammed the West for imposing sanctions on the country after the bloc renewed their two-decade long trade and arms embargo on Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe argues the sanctions imposed had nothing to do with human rights abuses except the move motivated by the Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) reclamation of its land forcibly taken by British settlers from local indigenous people.
– CAJ News