Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-04-24-Speech-4-194"

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"Mr President, how many times is it now that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe has featured on our agenda here as a matter for urgent debate? How many times have we stood here impotently railing against the way in which Mugabe oppresses his people? We have not always been unanimous about everything, but on Zimbabwe we do have some kind of consensus. The disgraceful spectacle of the recent elections is proof yet again that this unscrupulous dictator does not give a damn about democracy. The policy of ethnic cleansing against white farmers continues unabated. Mugabe holds the opposition, the international community, and his own people in contempt. The weakest in Zimbabwe are the first to suffer, but we have known that for years. And yet the European Community rolled out the red carpet for this man last December at the EU-African summit in Lisbon. Only Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown stuck to his guns and boycotted this unsavoury little get-together. We all know it, but the nub of the lamentable situation is this. Mugabe knows that he has support. He knows he is backed by a number of fellow-heads of state, or shall we say fellow-dictators in Africa, who dismiss any criticism of his criminal policy as 'neo-colonialism'. South Africa's role is especially perfidious here. Until such time as the African Union unequivocally condemns him, Mugabe will carry on with impunity. Mugabe knows he also has the backing of China, which wants to take over Europe's role in Africa and does it by telling corrupt heads of state that China will not give them any grief about human rights and good governance. The Chinese regime is showing its true colours not only in Tibet, but also in Darfur and Zimbabwe. That is the essence of today's debate and it is the shared culpability of China and Africa which we must condemn and highlight more forcefully."@en1

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