EU lifts more Zimbabwe sanctions, but bans on Mugabe continue


Zimbabwe's President and leader of ZANU-PF Robert Mugabe calls for elections in 2012 at the party's annual conference in Bulawayo, on December 10, 2011. Mugabe said he has no intention of retiring, saying doing so would be an act of 'cowardice.'


Jekesai Njikizana

The European Union has lifted more of its sanctions against Zimbabwe officials and institutions, according to Agence France-Presse.

While restrictions on President Robert Mugabe will continue, the EU is ending sanctions against 20 entities and 51 people, including the justice and foreign ministers, an EU diplomat told AFP. 

These include travel bans to European countries, and asset freezes.

However, while the travel ban against Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi will be suspended so they can travel to Brussels for talks, asset freezes against them will continue.

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According to AFP, the EU sanctions were imposed in 2002 after elections marred by violence and intimidation.

Last year, the EU lifted 35 sanctions, saying that the power-sharing government between Mugabe and former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was making "significant progress" in dealing with Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

However, the New York-based group Human Rights Watch has called on the EU not to lift its sanctions, noting that arrests of anti-government critics were continuing.

“Mugabe’s ZANU-PF is committing grave human rights abuses against all perceived opponents. Easing the sanctions now would send the wrong message and reinforce the repression and impunity in Zimbabwe," said Daniel Bekele, executive director of HRW's Africa Division, in a statement.

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