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Sweden to insist on democracy’

Staff Writer

SWEDEN will continue demanding respect for human rights, democracy and good governance in its partnership with countries and organisations, Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Kristina Svensson said

last week.

Officially opening the Sida Day during the Water Resources, Sanitation and Hygiene (Warsh) Fair last week, Svensson said her country will strive to reduce poverty and promote “peace, democracy and good governance”.

She said Sweden would also seek to enhance investment in children and young people, economic growth and equitable distribution of income and resources and gender equality.

Diplomats who spoke to the Independent said such a position is likely to dash any hopes of the resumption of closer relations between Zimbabwe and Sweden.

They said the government has continued to subjugate civil liberties and perpetuate the breakdown in the rule of law.

“The drought of democracy in Zimbabwe continues to produce serious violations of internationally recognised human rights,” a diplomat said. “The freedoms of assembly, association and expression, which are fundamental to the existence of a functioning democracy, are not being respected.”

Svensson said the new policy on global development is premised on the principle of “shared responsibility” and targets poor countries.

“Development co-operation will support and complement the efforts made by poor people and countries themselves to overcome poverty,” Svensson said.

Sweden was one of the first countries to freeze bilateral support to the Zanu PF government after the deterioration of human rights in the country. Over the past three years, Sweden has provided development aid to Zimbabwe through United Nations bodies and legally constituted civic society organisations.

The Warsh Fair was meant to promote cooperation between members in water and sanitation matters and assess progress made towards reaching the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015.

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