Letter to H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon Secretary-General of the United Nations
With Tsvangirai Facing Detainment, Kerry Pushes U.N. On Zimbabwe Elections
Sen. John Kerry wrote today to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to express outrage at the detainment of Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and ask that the UN apply meaningful pressure to President Robert Mugabe to ensure the security of Zimbabwe's run-off election. Tsvangirai and other party officials are being held by police at a roadblock. Tsvangirai, the Movement for Democratic Change leader, is due to participate in a presidential run-off election with incumbent Robert Mugabe on June 27.
"Morgan Tsvangirai's detention by Robert Mugabe's thugs is the latest reminder that Zimbabwe's presidential run-off election is occurring against a backdrop of repression and intimidation. Mugabe's brutal dictatorship is laying waste to Zimbabwe to maintain his hold on power: Scores have been killed, while countless opposition lawmakers, supporters, and civil society activists have been detained, beaten, and intimidated, since the voting began," said Sen. Kerry.
"Meanwhile, Mugabe, a man who has used food aid as a political weapon and has Zimbabwe teetering on the brink of a humanitarian disaster, is on holiday in Rome at a UN summit on the international food crisis. The nonsense must stop. The international community, starting with SADC and the AU, needs to ensure Tsvangirai's and his followers' security, while the UN, which never should have invited Mugabe to speak at the summit in the first place, must now use its leverage to demand Tsvangirai's freedom and secure free and fair elections."
On April 30, 2008, the Senate passed Sen. Kerry's resolution urging Robert Mugabe to accept the results of Zimbabwe's elections and step down as President. The resolution was co-sponsored by Sens. Kerry, Coleman, Isakson, Obama, Feingold, Durbin, Dodd, Clinton, Biden, Lieberman, Leahy and Cardin.
On May 23, 2008, Kerry sent letters to President Mwanawasa, Southern African Development Community (SADC) Chairman, and Secretary Condoleezza Rice to push for strong security measures to protect Tsvangirai and others in the run-off election. The Senator asked for action by SADC and continued vigorous diplomatic outreach from the Secretary to help bring about free and fair elections in the country.
Below is the full text of Sen. Kerry's letter:
June 4, 2008
H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon
Secretary-General of the United Nations
United Nations Headquarters
1st Avenue and 46th Street New York, NY 10017
Dear Secretary-General Ban:
I write to respectfully request that the United Nations (UN) apply meaningful pressure on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to ensure presidential run-off elections scheduled for June 27, 2007 are as non-violent, free, and fair as possible. I ask that you use your leadership role to rally support within the UN Security Council for a resolution condemning Mugabe, calling for the immediate release of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters, and demanding free and fair elections in Zimbabwe with international observers present from the Southern African Development Community and the African Union.
Tsvangirai's detention by Zimbabwean police allied with President Mugabe is the latest reminder that the presidential run-off in Zimbabwe is occurring against a backdrop of violence and severe repression. As you know, scores of innocent civilians in Zimbabwe have been killed, while countless opposition lawmakers, their supporters, and civil society activists have been detained, beaten, and intimidated since the initial elections.
Meanwhile, despite formal European Union restrictions on his travel, President Mugabe is in Rome this week at the invitation of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization for a summit on the global food crisis. President Mugabe's policies, including disastrous "land reform" programs and the systematic use of food aid as a political weapon, have left Zimbabwe on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. Given his deplorable record on food security, I respectfully submit that a brutal dictator like President Mugabe has no place at this crucial meeting between the world's leaders.
The UN has an opportunity to respond to those who decry the limitations of international institutions by taking vigorous action in the Security Council that can help stem the bloodshed in Zimbabwe. I hope that you will work with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad, and other world leaders to encourage the passage of a UN Security Council resolution. It is important that such a measure allow for sanctions against Zimbabwe's government should it choose not to release Tsvangirai immediately, end the violence, and take steps to permit a free and fair presidential election with international monitors.
I thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter and look forward to your reply.
John F. Kerry
Cc: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad