January 29, 2007 08:01 ET

Campaigners urge French government to exclude Zimbabwe from international summit

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(CCNMatthews - Jan. 29, 2007) - Campaigners are to protest outside of the French embassy in London this week (Friday 2nd February) to urge the French government to stop representatives of the Zimbabwean government attending an international summit.

Union members, Zimbabwean exiles and human rights campaigners are joining protests outside French embassies across Europe. They are calling on the French government to apply a European Union ban on Zimbabwean government members and prevent them from attending an African summit the French government is hosting in Cannes next month.

As well as seeking assurances that Zimbabwean government representatives have not been invited to attend, the campaigners want the French government to agree to turn away any member of the Zimbabwean government who arrives at the conference.

Amicus' General Secretary, Derek Simpson, said: "The French government have allowed Mugabe to attend this summit in the past and we, and many thousands of people across Europe who are horrified by the atrocities being carried out in Zimbabwe, want to urge solidarity and for the European Unions banned list of people to be upheld.

"We need to send a clear and consistent message to the leaders of the Zimbabwe's brutal regime: you are not welcome."

Euan Wilmshurst, Director of Action for Southern Africa, said: "People should be under no illusion that state sponsored terrorism is being carried out in Zimbabwe. People are being starved and tortured by the regime and it cannot be right that Mugabe, or any other representative of the Zimbabwe government, should be allowed to sit down with African and French leaders at an international conference."

Sanctions against the Zimbabwe regime were introduced by the EU in 2002 as a special measure to restrict Mugabe and his regime leadership from travelling to and via the EU. It is due for review in February hence the campaign to ensure that the sanctions are retained and that individual EU member states do not weaken their commitment.

The situation in Zimbabwe is worsening by the day. The average life expectancy is just 37 years, unemployment stands at about 90% and with inflation at over 1200%, the most basic commodities are either unavailable, or beyond the reach of most ordinary Zimbabweans.

Photo opportunity

Date: Friday 2nd March

Time: 12- 2pm

Place: French Embassy, 58 Knightsbridge, London, SW1X 7JT

Over the last year Amicus members have raised thousands of pounds to send sanitary products to the women of Zimbabwe. Members have been inspired by the activities of the Zimbabwean trade unions and women's movement, many of whom have been arrested and tortured by the regime.

Contact Information

  • Amicus Press Office
    Catherine Bithell
    020 7 420 8909 or 07958 473 224