Cablegate: Guidance for Unsc Consultations On Zimbabwe
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN RUEHTRO
DE RUEHC #3072/01 3250006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O P 192358Z NOV 08
FM SECSTATE WASHDC
TO RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK IMMEDIATE 3882
INFO UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE PRIORITY 3191
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 STATE 123072
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: UNSC PREL PHUM ZI XA ZU KDEM
SUBJECT: GUIDANCE FOR UNSC CONSULTATIONS ON ZIMBABWE
1. (U) This is an action request. USUN should draw from the
statement in para 2 during the UN Security Council
consultations on Zimbabwe November 20. USUN should also
address the press after the UNSC briefing to summarize the
key points from the U.S. statement. Additionally, USUN
should hand to reporters the "Zimbabwe Fact Sheet" in para 3,
which is available at:
(http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/104399.htm) End action.
2. (U) Begin points:
I would like to thank Assistant Secretary General Political
Affairs Haile Menkerios for his briefing on the situation in
Zimbabwe. Today, I would like to make three points.
First, the United States remains deeply concerned about the
welfare of the Zimbabwean people given the increasingly dire
humanitarian situation. We are concerned the reality and
magnitude of the situation has gone underreported. Food
insecurity will soon affect five million people. The
healthcare system has collapsed as hospitals lack even the
most basic supplies and are forced
to close their doors. There are inadequate efforts and
resources to address the cholera outbreaks in urban areas and
NGOs report as many as 1.4 million may be at risk of
contracting the disease. Human rights remain brutally
restricted as government-sponsored political violence
continues against MDC supporters and ordinary citizens,
including unpaid doctors and nurses, exercising their right
to peacefully protest conditions in their country. The U.S.
continues to provide food and non-food humanitarian
assistance, with no conditions attached.
Second, the United States notes more than nine weeks have
passed since the September 15 signing of the Zimbabwe
power-sharing Agreement, yet still there is no legitimate
government. The United States believes the SADC proposal for
ZANU-PF and MDC to share the Home Affairs Ministry
contravenes the letter and spirit of the September 15
Agreement, as does Mugabe,s unilateral appointment of
government officials. Mugabe must accede to an equitable
power-sharing arrangement that provides for a
genuinely democratic transitional government that reflects
the will of the Zimbabwean people as expressed in the March
29 elections and the spirit of the September 15 agreement.
Third, we urge all SADC member states to require Mugabe to
honor his commitment to act in good faith and form an
inclusive government with the MDC that can begin to address
the urgent crises facing the people in Zimbabwe.
Lastly, we thank UN Assistant Secretary General for Political
Affairs Haile Menkerios for keeping the Council informed of
developments in Zimbabwe.
3. DRL Factsheet on Zimbabwe:
As Talks Stall, Zimbabweans Suffer
In violation of both the September 15 power-sharing agreement
between political parties and the will of the Zimbabwean
people as expressed in the March 29 elections, Zimbabwe
remains without a legitimate government, causing further
suffering to its people. Twenty-one African leaders witnessed
the signing of the accord between Mugabe,s ZANU-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Since then,
the Mugabe regime has refused to implement an equitable and
inclusive government and has continued to use violence
against peaceful demonstrators.
In the face of condemnation by the international community,
including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, human
rights violations in 2008 have more than tripled from 2007,
and there are signs that the violence may again be
increasing. The Mugabe regime continues to brutally restrict
basic freedoms through state-sponsored violence. Security
forces refuse to allow peaceful demonstrations by democratic
groups to proceed, often using batons and tear gas to
violently disperse gatherings. Just last month, two peaceful
marches protesting Zimbabwe,s humanitarian crisis and
crumbling infrastructure, each attended by over 200 members
of civil society, were disrupted by police who resorted to
both beatings and arrests to disperse civilians. NGOs report
that violence could escalate further at any time.
Due to the intransigence of the regime, the humanitarian
crisis worsens. Zimbabweans struggle to survive in an economy
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that has been decimated by malfeasance, corruption and
inaction. Facing the highest inflation in the world, many
citizens have resorted to a barter system. Unemployment is
the norm. The Mugabe regime continues to impede humanitarian
access, despite warnings that over 5 million Zimbabweans may
go hungry in the coming months.
190 opposition activists and supporters have been
murdered since the March 29 election.
Violence continues at significantly higher rates than
seen before the March 29 election. Although overall violence
has decreased from the highest levels seen during the
inter-election period from May-July, it may again be
In October alone, at least 1,300 incidents of
politically-motivated violence or harassment by ZANU-PF
members or supporters against the opposition have been
documented by independent organizations, who note an increase
from August and September.
Politically-motivated rape by ZANU-PF against
opposition supporters has occurred. According to media
reports, women were held as sex slaves at ZANU-PF camps.
Several victims state they were held against their will and
raped multiple times a day. Some of the perpetrators of these
crimes are reportedly ZANU-PF officials holding elected
NGOs report that in some rural areas, ZANU-PF &hit
squads8 and youth militia continue to act with impunity to
intimidate and harass civilians.
Illegal Arrest and Detention
The MDC reports that several of its activists remain in
police custody on trumped up charges. For example, in late
October twelve MDC activists in Mashonaland West were
arrested by security forces on charges of receiving training
in sabotage, terrorism and banditry. Police also took one
activist,s two-year-old daughter into custody. The detainees
have been held incommunicado for over two weeks and their
location remains unknown. Despite repeated attempts by
lawyers, the detainees have had no access to legal counsel or
medical care. On November 11, a High Court judge issued four
orders, including to the Minister of Home Affairs and the
Police Commissioner-General, demanding they produce the
activists in court. The government has not complied.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) sponsored
peaceful demonstrations in five cities on November 11, four
of which were broken up violently by riot police who arrested
over two dozen protesters. Police detained NCA Chairman
Lovemore Madhuku for four hours, keeping him from a Harare
After three weeks in jail following their arrest for
peacefully protesting the crisis in Zimbabwe, Jenni Williams
and Magodonga Mahlang, both leaders of the NGO Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were granted bail on November 4. Upon
their release, they shared stories of worsening conditions
and food shortages in the country,s prisons. On November 16,
Amnesty International,s German Section awarded WOZA its 5th
Annual Human Rights Award.
On November 18, riot police disrupted a peaceful
attempt by an estimated 1,000 medical staff, including
doctors and nurses, to protest the country,s deteriorating
healthcare system. The protesters planned to present a
petition to the government calling for urgent action to
address the crisis. Police reportedly blocked staff from
leaving the main hospital in Harare to join the march and
threatened those who continued demonstrating with arrest.
The number of hungry Zimbabweans is expected to rise to
over 5 million in early 2009. Millions of Zimbabweans have
already run out of food or are surviving on just one meal a
day. International aid agencies are being forced to reduce
daily rations in order to stretch their remaining supplies.
There are widespread reports of citizens in rural areas
scavenging for wild fruits and roots. A poor summer harvest,
hyperinflation, the lack of foreign exchange to import food
and the previous ban on NGO activities have led to an acute
food crisis. The winter harvest is forecast to be less than
one tenth of the local consumption requirement.
The number of Zimbabweans seeking asylum in South
Africa exceeded 2007's total figure in the first quarter of
2008 alone, according to experts. An estimated three million
Zimbabweans have left for South Africa and neighboring
countries over the past decade seeking both economic
opportunity as well as political asylum.
While health care in Zimbabwe was once amongst the best
in Africa, it has declined dramatically, a trend which has
accelerated in recent months. Public hospitals lack water,
electricity, soap, and even basic medical supplies, forcing
many hospitals to refuse patients treatment. Untold numbers
of Zimbabweans have died as a result. Even private hospitals
now have limited resources, as medications and supplies,
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where available, must be purchased with scarce foreign
Even as Zimbabwe,s health care system collapses, news
broke in November that Zimbabwe,s Reserve Bank &diverted8
over $7 million donated to the country by the Global Fund for
AIDS, TB and Malaria. The Bank has since returned the funds.
Outbreaks of cholera are plaguing communities across
Zimbabwe. Five separate outbreaks have resulted in 2,893
cases of cholera and at least 115 deaths since August.
Doctors Without Borders has warned that another 1.4 million
people are at risk.
The quality of Zimbabwe,s once thriving education
sector continued to erode, resulting in a loss of teachers,
suspension of national exams, inflationary increases in
school fees, and the postponement of the university semester.
In November, teachers, unions called for the cancellation of
the entire academic year.
Inflation continues its unprecedented rise. Official
regime figures placed the July inflation rate at
231,000,000%. Independent economists estimate inflation in
November at over 13,000,000,000%. According to one economist,
prices now double every 1.3 days. At this rate, the annual
inflation rate will surpass the world record by the end of
2008. As a result, the cash economy has largely collapsed,
replaced by barter and foreign currency, neither of which
permits most Zimbabweans access to desperately needed goods
The impact of hyperinflation is devastating. Those
fortunate enough to be employed now find that insurance
companies can no longer afford to cover even urgent medical
care, including surgery and dialysis. Salaries cannot keep
pace with the skyrocketing increase in fuel, electricity, and
The World Bank estimates that just six percent of the
working-age population is employed in the formal sector. The
majority of Zimbabweans are now working informally or not at
Amid fuel shortages, gasoline prices have soared,
raising the price of a one-way bus trip to more than the
average daily wage.
Power and water outages occur daily across large swaths
of the city, placing large sectors of the population at
serious risk. In some communities that have gone without
water for months or years, citizens have dug crude shallow
wells in which water sometimes mixes with sewage flowing from
broken sewer pipes. These practices contribute to cholera and
other disease outbreaks.
Shelves at shops that sell in local currency are bare,
as price controls do not allow retailers to recoup their
costs or replace goods. Basic commodities such as milk and
meat are only available in foreign currency shops or on the
black market at exorbitant prices.