Zimbabwe NGOs urge EU to lift sanctions on Mugabe

Harare, Feb 25: A Zimbabwean association of voluntary organisations Monday called on the European Union (EU) to lift the sanctions on Zimbabwe’s president and his wife, while urging the government to carry on with political reforms and address governance issues that led to the fallout between the two.

A statement from the National Association of Non-governmental Organisations (NANGO) applauded EU’s lifting of restrictive measures last week on eight Zimbabwean individuals, mainly top military brass. But sanctions remained on President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace, Xinhua reported.

“The total lifting of measures will enable both parties to engage on the developmental challenges in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will not be able to fully implement her international human rights obligations while isolated from that same community,” NANGO said.

It said targeted measures made it difficult for ordinary Zimbabweans to conduct international transactions since some of the financial intermediaries were on the list of measures, having a multiplier effect on depositors and their business partners.

The EU said the decision to ease the sanctions had been taken in view of progress made by Zimbabwe in implementing democratic reforms.

The EU has been reviewing the sanctions annually since it introduced them in 2002 alleging human rights violations by Mugabe’s government and the latest move leaves only two people out of the original 192 people and one economic entity out of the initial 87 on the sanctions list.

The EU also maintains an arms embargo on the southern African country.

IANS