The ACTU condemns the ongoing state-sanctioned and politically motivated violence used against supporters of democracy and leaders and members of the Zimbabwe trade unions (ZCTU). We abhore the actions taken by Robert Mugabe and his party the ZANU-PF to retain political power and we pledge support to the Zimbabwean people in their struggle for freedom and democracy.

We reaffirm that respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law are fundamental preconditions for a stable society.

The ACTU welcomes the Australian Government’s active diplomacy on Zimbabwe and their monitoring of the legal cases taken against the leaders of the ZCTU.

The ACTU is saddened that so few of Africa’s national political leaders have taken a stand to end the violence and see democracy upheld in Zimbabwe but applauds the courage and action of African trade unions and civil society groups in opposing the violence in Zimbabwe and that directed against refugees and migrant workers in South Africa.

The ACTU especially acknowledges the leadership by COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions), its transport union SATAWU, and the International Transport Federation (ITF) affiliates in stopping a Chinese ship carrying arms destined for Zimbabwe to dock or unload in any African port in April.

We acknowledge that the international community has recognized the magnitude of the problems facing Zimbabwe and their impact on the southern African region but that concerted international action, led by Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries is urgently required.

Following years of violations of fundamental rights, in recent weeks, over a hundred people have been killed, many thousands beaten, tortured and displaced and millions now facing economic hardship and starvation. The suffering of the Zimbabwean people is worsening every day and a peaceful negotiated transition is urgently required.

The ACTU adds its voice to those of trade unions across Africa and calls upon the African Union to work with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in urgently establishing the framework for a negotiated solution to Zimbabwe’s plight.