While the European Union has declined to impose additional sanctions against Zimbabwe, there remains much concern over human rights and democratic principles amid the country’s economic and political crisis.
“We have seen a crackdown on demonstrations in January – just a month ago – as well as the disproportionate use of force by the authorities that called into question this commitment,” said Federica Mogherini, the head of EU’s foreign affairs and security. “Now the key question is to understand whether the old system has been dismantled definitely or if it remains in place under a different leadership.”
The decision on sanctions can be changed as the situation warrants, she said, and the EU will continue to monitor developments to ensure it is supporting human rights and the rule of law.
The EU left in place the arms embargo and restrictions on Zimbabwe Defence Industries, the state-owned defense firm based in Harare and aligned with the ruling Zanu PF party led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Sanctions against former president Robert Mugabe, above, and his wife Grace also remain in place.
The EU has imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe since February 2002, with the most recent review in February 2017. They were set to expire on February 19 if they were not renewed, which Zimbabwe and neighboring South African Development Community (SADC) nations have been pressing for as part of reviving Zimbabwe’s crippled economy.