BREAKING NEWS: French Trade Unions ensure a victory for the people of Zimbabwe-17-02-07

Press Release – 14th February 2007

As Zimbabwe’s inflation rate reaches 1600%, as 294 women and children are arrested and detained on the streets of Bulawayo, and as President Robert Mugabe plans major and costly celebrations for his 83rd Birthday next week, Action for Souther

n Africa (ACTSA) today welcomed France’s back down in the face of a major campaign spear headed by its own trade union movement to ensure it supports the renewal of EU sanctions on Zimbabwe, and exclude Mugabe and his cronies from this week’s Franco – Africa Summit.

Following an unprecedented joint statement from the three main French trade union federations calling for their government to uphold the sanctions and to bar Mugabe and his cronies from the summit or face action on the streets of Cannes, the campaign saw ACTSA joined by trade unions, NGO’s, and church and faith groups from across the EU.

In response to this show of solidarity, the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions issued a clear and robust statement demanding that all countries of the world make members of their brutal and unrepresentative Government unwelcome.It now seems that the sanction will be renewed for another year from the 20th February, and that the Franco – Africa Summit will go ahead without a Zimbabwean presence.

After the 20th February, the campaign moves its focus to Portugal , demanding that they too do not allow any Zimbabwean Government presence at the EU – Africa Summit this Autumn in Lisbon .

This weekend, Lucia Matibenga, Vice President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, and herself a victim of her government’s brutality on several occasions, will arrive in the UK for a week long trip as a guest of ACTSA and the public service trade union Unison. Lucia will use several events to highlight further the plight of her people, adding weight to the demand that Portugal exclude her government from this Autumn’s summit.

Today Euan Wilmshurst , ACTSA’s Director said “ As the crisis in Zimbabwe worsens on a daily basis, the lead taken by the French Trade Union movement has shown that no EU country should be a haven for Mugabe and his brutal regime, and that no EU leader will again get away with sanction busting. As this campaign grows we hope it will ensure that Portugal doesn’t even consider issuing an invitation”

For more information or interview requests contact Euan Wilmshurst on 07866 760276

ACTSA is the successor to the UK Anti Apartheid Movement, and has campaigned in solidarity with the people of Zimbabwe for many years

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