Church appeals to Beckett

LONDON - The congregation of Alvaston Methodist Church has written to the new Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, drawing her attention to the plight of the people of Zimbabwe, both inside and outside the country.
"We are aware that you will be meeting with a very high level trade delegation fr

om South Africa next week, and we would like to call your attention to the grim human rights and economic plight of the people of Zimbabwe,” says the letter, signed by Rev Martine Stemerick.
It goes on to give the minister a clear understanding of Operation Murambatsvina and its aftermath in destroying the infrastructure of life for more than a million Zimbabweans. Other key points raised include the politicisation of food distribution, the official blocking of help from churches and NGO’s and the latest abuses under Operation Round up.
The letter requests that the UK government focus its economic aid and political pressure to resolve the current situation in Zimbabwe. “In next week’s conversations with the trade and foreign ministry delegations from South Africa, attention should be specifically directed to the economic situation in Zimbabwe and its political origin in bad governance.”
Stemerick calls on Becket to remind President Thabo Mbeki that the foundations of NEPAD, as he articulated them, are based on good governance and human rights.
“Mbeki has repeatedly refused to criticize the appalling human rights record of Robert Mugabe and the Zanu (PF) regime. South Africa should show leadership in NEPAD and the AU if the British government is to continue investing in political and business partnerships. – Martine Stemerick will be a guest on the Rob Frost show on Sunday morning between 9 and 10 a.m. with Caroline Waterman from Christian Aid – East Africa and Phil Bowyer from Tearfund. Premier Christian Radio broadcasts on MW 1305, 1332,1413 in London and nationally on Freeview Channel 96,Sky Digital 0123, NTL 886.

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