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UK Zimbabweans appeal to Cameron PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Saturday, 16 March 2013 22:33

Media Notice from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 14th March 2013

 

Zimbabweans in the UK are to present a petition to 10 Downing Street on Saturday 16th March appealing to the UK government not to send home failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers because of election violence.

 

A letter to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, says there has been a disturbing campaign of police harassment of civil society organisations ahead of elections in Zimbabwe expected in July, accompanied by increasing violence. The letter says ‘We expect the situation to worsen as polling approaches because President Mugabe’s Zanu PF thugs are given impunity by the police to terrorise opponents’.

 

The petition has been organised by Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR), the sister organisation of the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past eleven years in support of free and fair elections.

 

The petition is being presented on the same day as a referendum in Zimbabwe to decide whether to adopt a new constitution. The three parliamentary parties are campaigning for a yes vote but the proposed constitution has been rejected by many civil society organisations.

 

ROHR spokesperson Fungayi Mabhunu said: ‘The referendum is a charade. President Mugabe has once again outwitted the Movement for Democratic Change. Four years and more than $100 million have been wasted on this defective constitution when what is really needed is action to ensure free and fair elections’.

 

The Vigil is being joined by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), formerly the Anti-Apartheid Movement, to mark referendum day. Passers-by will be invited to write messages of hope for peaceful elections on red paper roses to be used to form a montage.

 

Timetable for the day

·         2 pm: meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR for the regular Vigil. Nearest station: Charing Cross.

·         3.45: leave the Vigil for 10 Downing Street.

·         4.30: Presentation of petition to 10 Downing Street.

·         6.15: Zimbabwe Action Forum. Mark Beacon, Campaigns Manager of ACTSA, will discuss how the Vigil and ACTSA can work more closely together to deliver freedom in Zimbabwe Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Nearest station: Temple (District and Circle lines). For more detailed directions, check Events and Notices on our website: www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 

Text of letter to David Cameron

 

Dear Mr Cameron

 

We respectfully submit the following petition on behalf of Zimbabwean failed asylum seekers: 

 

Petition to the UK Border Agency: We, the undersigned members of the Zimbabwe Community in the United Kingdom, friends of Zimbabwe and human rights defenders, are deeply disturbed by allegations that deportees to Zimbabwe are being threatened with sedation to facilitate their forced removal from the UK. We are also concerned by the practice of detaining asylum seekers when they sign-in. We believe this approach discourages compliance and instead drives the frightened asylum seeker under the radar and possibly into crime. We also raise concern that asylum claims made in detention are being fast tracked to expedite the deportation decision without full recourse to the law.  We call upon the UK immigration authorities to respect international human rights statutes in their treatment of asylum seekers throughout the asylum process. We beg the UK government to seriously consider deferring deportations to Zimbabwe to at least 6 months after the planned 2013 elections which we believe will be, like those before them, violent.

 

We wish to draw your attention to a disturbing campaign of police harassment of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe ahead of the elections expected in July. This has been accompanied by increasing violence.  The MDC party of Morgan Tsvangirai has submitted a dossier to the Southern African Development Community detailing 120 incidents of violence in the past few months. We expect the situation to worsen as polling approaches because President Mugabe’s Zanu PF thugs are given impunity by the police to terrorise opponents.

 

We Zimbabweans in exile and supporters ask you to pass this petition on to the UK Border Agency so that they can be reminded to respect human rights in their treatment of asylum seekers. In particular, we suggest a moratorium on sending Zimbabweans home until the violence ceases.

 

The petition has been organised by Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, a sister organisation of the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for the past eleven years in support of free and fair elections.

 

Contacts

Fungayi Mabhunu                   07746 552 597

Rose Benton                           07970 996 003

 
Hague letter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Tuesday, 05 February 2013 20:12

 Hague: New government to continue policy on Zimbabwe

Media Release from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 14th June 2010 

The new British government has made clear there will no change of policy on Zimbabwe despite suggestions from President Mugabe that he would find it easier to deal with the Conservative party than the former Labour administration. 

In his first statement on the intractable Zimbabwe situation, the new British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said it was clear that the inclusive government formed last year after the violent elections of 2008 was not a long-term solution. 

‘This government will focus on supporting a process that gives Zimbabweans a chance to state their democratic preferences, and that leads to a stable government genuinely representing the people’s will,’ he said. ‘It is vital that elections, when held, must be conducted in a manner that allows Zimbabweans to express their opinions in an informed and free way and without fear of violence or intimidation. We will be working with the international and regional community to ensure that this can happen.’ 

Mr Hague added that the UK is currently providing its largest ever assistance package to Zimbabwe - £60 million in humanitarian assistance focused on the poorest and most vulnerable people.  The Foreign Secretary was responding to a letter from the Zimbabwe Vigil, which has been demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London for the past 8 years in support of free and fair elections. 

Full text of Mr Hague’s letter follows.  (For text of Vigil letter see Zimbabwe Vigil diary 29th May 2010: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/ZimVigil-Diary-Entries/zimbabwe-vigil-diary-29th-may-2010.html.)  

8th June 2010 

Thank you for your kind wishes on my appointment as Foreign Secretary and for letting me know of the Vigil’s views on how the international community should respond to events in Zimbabwe. 

I am aware of the good work the Zimbabwe Vigil does in keeping alive the pressure for reform in Zimbabwe. It is dispiriting to consider just how long the people of Zimbabwe have been waiting for the opportunity to express their views in free and fair elections and to be able to contribute to the revival of a prosperous and democratic country. 

The creation of the Inclusive Government was an important step in helping to curtail the violence of 2008 and start the process of economic and political reform that the parties signed up to in September 2008. But it is clear that this is not a long-term solution. This government will focus on supporting a process that gives Zimbabweans a chance to state their democratic preferences, and that leads to a stable government genuinely representing the people’s will. It is vital that elections, when held, must be conducted in a manner that allows Zimbabweans to express their opinions in an informed and free way and without fear of violence or intimidation. We will be working with the international and regional community to ensure that this can happen. 

The UK is currently providing its largest ever assistance package to Zimbabwe - £60 million in humanitarian assistance that is focused on helping the poorest and most vulnerable in society. Funding is concentrated in the health, food security and primary education sectors. All funding is channelled through international organisations or NGOs and not through the Government of Zimbabwe or the Reserve Bank. This approach was confirmed at an international donor meeting of the Friends of Zimbabwe at the end of May. 

The EU renewed and modified its targeted measures on Zimbabwe in February to reflect the progress that had been made in the economic sector but the lack of progress in advancing political reform. Any further modifications must be agreed by all 27 Member States and should reflect progress in line with the Global Political Agreement. We welcome the renewal of dialogue between the EU and the Government of Zimbabwe as a means of helping to further the democratic process and the efforts of the reformers in Zimbabwe. 

I wish the Zimbabwe Vigil every success in achieving their aim, of a peaceful and democratic Zimbabwe. 

Yours sincerely 

William Hague

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Petition to Zuma PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 20 December 2012 20:54

Media Notice from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 20th December 2012

 

Petition to Zuma

 

Zimbabwean exiles in the UK are to submit a petition to the South African High Commission on Saturday calling on President Zuma to put pressure on Mugabe to stop blocking the way to a referendum on the proposed new constitution.

 

Although the constitution has been signed off by Mugabe’s representatives, Zanu PF is deliberately dragging its feet to prevent reforms before new elections as provided for in the Global Political Agreement of 2008.

 

The petition reads: “Petition to President Zuma of South Africa: Exiled Zimbabweans call on President Zuma to put pressure on President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to implement the Global Political Agreement. If they continue to refuse we urge South Africa to take measures against the Mugabe regime.”

 

The petition will be accompanied by the following letter:

 

Dear President Zuma

 

Zimbabweans in the diaspora congratulate you on your re-election as ANC leader. We hope that you will now have more time to devote to your obligations as mediator for Zimbabwe.

 

We believe your intervention is needed now more than ever as Zanu PF is determined to block any progress.

 

More than 3 million Zimbabweans have been forced from our country. Many of them are in South Africa. we long to return home but can do so only after free and fair elections have freed us from bondage.

 

To go to elections without reforms will be a disaster for Zimbabwe and South Africa and the region as a whole. We will end up another Equatorial Guinea.

 

Yours sincerely, Vigil Co-ordinators

 

The petition has been signed by nearly 5,000 people who have stopped by the Zimbabwe Vigil which is held every Saturday outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London, around the corner from South Africa House in Trafalgar Square.

 

The submission of the petition is part of the 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest which has promoted a series of protests about the situation in Zimbabwe around the 21st of every month since January of this year.

 

This month’s protest will also draw attention to the suffering of ordinary people in Zimbabwe at Christmas while the country’s political leaders loot the country’s resources.

 

Timetable for Saturday 22nd December

·        2pm – Meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy where people can sign the petition before it is submitted

·        3.30 pm – submit petition to the South African High Commission.

·        4.30 pm – turning on of Vigil’s mourning Christmas lights

 
Zimbabwe Vigil’s 10th Anniversary – no cause for celebration PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 11 October 2012 00:16

Media Notice from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 10th October 2012

 

As Zimbabwe prepares for fateful elections in the next nine months, the Zimbabwe Vigil marks its 10th anniversary demonstrating outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London in support of democracy and human rights.

 

Exiled Zimbabweans have been meeting every Saturday outside the Embassy near Trafalgar Square since 12th October 2002 demanding free and fair elections and an end to human rights abuses.

 

The protest has been described by the Observer newspaper as the largest regular demonstration in London. Attendance has ranged from a handful to more than 300. Petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of passers-by have been submitted to the UK government, the UN, the EU, the African Union, the Southern African Development Community etc.

 

Vigil Co-ordinator Rose Benton said ‘Our purpose is to draw the attention of the world to the catastrophe in our homeland. Our most immediate concern is that international election monitors must be in place before the next elections to deter Mugabe’s violence which enabled him to steal the last elections.

 

‘Despite an abundance of natural resources our people live in desperate poverty. The wealth of Zimbabwe is looted and the environment trashed. If it is not stopped the region as a whole will be endangered.

 

‘The deadline for elections is next June but no serious steps have been implemented to honour the agreement under which Mugabe’s Zanu PF party bought off the former opposition MDC party. For instance the current voters’ roll still lists the late Rhodesian leader Ian Smith and 16,800 voters born on 01/01/1901.’

 

Timetable for the day

·        2 – 6 pm: meet outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR for the regular Vigil. Nearest station: Charing Cross.

·        6-30 – 9.30 pm: 10th Anniversary gathering to discuss the way forward. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Nearest station: Temple (District and Circle lines). For more detailed directions, check Events and Notices on our website: www.zimvigil.co.uk.

 

Contacts

Fungayi Mabhunu         07746 552 597

Rose Benton                 07970 996 003

 
Zimbabwean protest outside Zambian diplomatic offices PDF Print E-mail
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 21:24

Media Release from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 20th June 2012

 

Zimbabwean exiles are to stage a demonstration outside the Zambian High Commission in London at 3.30 pm on Thursday 21st June as part of the 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protests that have been taking place on the 21st of each month since the beginning of 2012 (see: http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/jun20_2012.html#Z6 – Zambian President to be targeted in Free Zim Protest).

 

The protesters will deliver a statement from Den Moyo, the Zimbabwean diaspora leader in the USA (see: Global Zimbabwe Protest against Zambian President Sata’s utterances - http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/news/zimbabwe/58905/global-zimbabwe-protest-against-zambian.html).

 

The protest follows a similar demonstration by the Zimbabwe Vigil outside the Zambian High Commission when President Sata was in the UK for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations (see: . http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/vigil-news/press-releases/409-zimbabweans-in-uk-protest-at-zambian-presidents-visit--6th-june-2012 - Zimbabweans in UK protest at Zambian President’s visit).

 

Protest details

Time and Date: 3.30 – 4.30 pm on Thursday 21st June

Venue: Zambian High Commission, 2 Palace Gate, London W8 5NG

Contact: Rose Benton 07970996003, 07932193467

 
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