A British peer yesterday asked why the United Kingdom government did not place Zimbabwe Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa on sanctions to exert more leverage on Zimbabwe to restore human rights but did not get a clear answer from the government whip, Baroness Goldie.
Lord Collins of Highbury asked the Baroness to explain why Chinamasa had sanctions on him removed when the British government could have used that to put more pressure on Zimbabwe to observe human rights.
Baroness Goldie said there was already an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and active sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace.
She did not say what action could be taken against Chinamasa.
Chinamasa has been to the United Kingdom trying to raise funds to bail out the country and was booed by Zimbabweans living in that country who insisted that the UK should not bail out Mugabe.
Q & A:
Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab) -My Lords, one thing that is clear is that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe is getting worse. There is a lot that the United Kingdom Government can do, particularly in terms of sanctions against individuals, which they currently impose on the President of Zimbabwe. Can the noble Baroness explain why the Finance Minister, Mr Chinamasa, has had that embargo removed? Why are we not exerting more leverage and using the authority that we have now to restore human rights?
Baroness Goldie-The noble Lord makes an important point about human rights. We consider the human rights situation to be stable but fragile, and, as I indicated to the noble Lord, Lord Oates, we will continue to raise concerns about individual cases. We monitor the situation closely and are able to do so because of our embassy in Harare. We regularly call, both bilaterally and in partnership with EU member states, for an end to all abuses and for the restoration of internationally accepted human rights standards. In relation to sanctions, I reassure the noble Lord that there is an arms embargo against Zimbabwe and active sanctions against President Mugabe and his wife, Grace. That extends to travel bans and all financial dealings, and their assets in the EU are frozen.