I congratulate the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Dermot Ahern, who has already protested about the unrest and the deprivation of human rights in Zimbabwe. The situation is now becoming critical.
The opposition leader has been arrested and tortured while in detention and there has been at least one killing by the so-called police in Zimbabwe. As Ireland punches above its weight in foreign affairs, it can initiate a diplomatic offensive, both within and without the EU, to demonstrate to the world and to President Mugabe himself that he is a dictator whose respect for human rights is zero.
I see no reason the Minister and the Government should not go on a solo run to make that protest, and not simply within the EU. Ireland has an honourable record on the issue of human rights and should capitalise on it. In recent times, events there have been particularly ugly and apart from the action by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, international reaction has been disappointing. One tends to tire of people such as Mugabe. People rationalise that he is an old man who will die eventually and who will be then replaced by someone better. However, there is no such guarantee.
He has fiddled his own elections to keep himself in power and he is torturing opposition to him. It would be honourable for Ireland, as an independent nation, to make a meaningful protest on this issue.