Hilary Clinton accuses Zimbabwe of crushing civil liberties

tsvangirai_clintonHARARE - US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has bunched Zimbabwe together with Iran and Egypt and condemned the administrations for "crushing democracy" and civil liberties. (Pictured: Clinton pictured with MDC leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai)

Clinton made the scathing remarks while on a visit to Poland, where she oversaw the signing of a key missile base agreement.

She warned of a “steel vice” of repression crushing democracy and civil liberties activists in countries such as Iran, Egypt and Zimbabwe.

She spoke as a human rights activist accused of providing false information about the diamond trade in Marange spoke of his harrowing torture experience at the hands of the police in court. Farai Maguwu was tortured and thrown into remand prison, limping and cold, to stay longer behind bars until investigations are complete. A nation that at first had showed a promising focus on good governance, literacy, and reconciliation now was confronted with a massive humanitarian crisis and state repression against domestic opponents, Clinton said.

Clinton defended US funding for advocacy groups in other countries, which the Zimbabwe government condemn as meddling.

Clinton said social activists in many countries were being harassed, censored, arrested or killed. The iron curtain no longer existed, she said, “but we must be wary of the steel vice in which governments around the world are slowly crushing civil society and the human spirit”.

Since 2000, America has engaged Zimbabwe in a bitter diplomatic row, characterised by threats, sanctions and verbal exchanges over a deteriorating human rights situation and rising repression. Despite its hostility, threats and sanctions, American policy makers still recognise the importance of Zimbabwe in contemporary Southern African geo-politics, a vital area of western economic investment and vital resources.

The US’s “narrowly targeted sanctions,” were imposed on specific high level individuals and their families in Zimbabwe, accused of undermining democracy and crushing the Zimbabwean people’s civil liberties .This list of over 200 individuals including Mugabe have their assets frozen in America. In the face of a torrent of rhetoric from Washington, Zimbabwes President Robert Mugabe has remained unbending. He has shown stubborn defiance to western threats and American-led sanctions. He has missed no opportunity to cry out loud as a victim of western vilification, double standards and what he has repeatedly called “rank hypocrisy.”

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