Originally published in Blakes Bulletin on
International Trade, July 2008
The Canadian government has announced new restrictions on
its relationship with Zimbabwe in response to the recent
election in that country. Citing the findings of regional
election observers, particularly those in a report by the Pan
African Parliament Election Observation Mission, the government
has condemned the actions in association with the recent
election, which included violence towards, and intimidation of,
the populace. The government describes these actions as
illegal, finds that the election results are not credible, and
views the Mugabe regime as illegitimate. The Minister of
Foreign Affairs and International Trade, David Emerson,
describes the events surrounding the recent election as a
"grave violation of human rights and democratic
principles," and the election itself as neither free nor
fair as a result.
On June 29, 2008, the government announced several immediate
restrictions. The restrictions announced so far include:
No aircraft registered in Zimbabwe is allowed to land in
or fly over Canada
Travel, work, and study restrictions are to be placed
upon senior Zimbabwean officials, including government,
military, and police officials, and their families
The ambassador to Zimbabwe is being summoned to convey
messages to her home government
The prohibition against exporting military goods to
Zimbabwe is re-confirmed.
The government is calling on Canadian companies for support
in the condemnation of the Mugabe regime, encouraging a
voluntary divestment from Zimbabwe.
Canada has signalled that it intends to continue providing
humanitarian assistance to the people of Zimbabwe. The
government has stated that it intends to work with the other G8
nations in developing an integrated international response, and
will be calling upon the UN Security Council, as well as the
African Union, to condemn the election and respond accordingly.
The UN Secretary-General has already decried the election as
illegitimate. The U.S., which is expected to announce new
sanctions against Zimbabwe, has also committed to pushing the
Security Council to adopt further sanctions including an arms
embargo and travel ban.
Depending on the Zimbabwe government's response to
these international calls for action, the restrictions
announced may be just the beginning. Importantly, these
restrictions are described as "initial," thereby
implying that additional measures may be implemented at a later
date. The situation should be monitored closely as the Canadian
and international responses develop.
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