Saturday, May 3, 2008

Chinese Arms Blocked

WSCF and YWCA applaud actions to block arms to Zimbabwe
2 May 2008

WSCF and World YWCA today applauded the southern African trade unions, NGOs, churches and governments whose actions have prevented Chinese arms ship the “An Yue Jiang” from unloading its heavy cargo of weapons for Zimbabwe. Originally intended for unloading in Durban, the massive shipment of AK-47 amunition and grenades was halted by a combination of efforts from the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) who refused to unload the ship, and the South African Litigation Centre (SALC) who obtained a court ruling against its overland transfer across the South African border.Since the transit and handling rejection of the arms shipment in South Africa, southern African peoples’ movements, churches and NGOS followed by diplomatic efforts by several countries have caused the return of the arms to China. Reports from Zimbabwe continue to indicate that pro-ZanuPF groups are carrying out violent retaliatory and terrorising tactics against Zimbabweans who are accused of voting for the opposition.In a joint statement issued from Geneva, the two global Christian youth organisations offered their solidarity and appreciation to the southern African workers and human rights activists, naming their stand in refusing to unload or transport the arms as an act of prevention against highly probable widespread human rights violations in Zimbabwe.