By ZBC Reporter
THE United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral and coersive measures, Alena Douhan has called for the lifting of unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe and urged sanctioning states and key national stakeholders to engage in meaningful dialogue on political reform, human rights and the rule of law.
Douhan who has been in Zimbabwe for the past two weeks on a fact finding mission on the effects of western imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe, visited Harare and Bulawayo and held meetings with state officials, members of civil society, trade unions, faith based organisations, political parties, private companies and business associations.
In a statement at the end of her visit, the independent expert stated that unilateral sanctions and over -compliance with sanctions in their complexity had exacerbated pre-exisiting social and economic challenges with devastating consequences for the people of Zimbabwe especially those living in poverty, women, children, elderly, people with disabilites as well as marginalised and other vulnerable groups.
“Over the last 20 yrs, sanctions and various forms of over-compliance with sanctions have had an insidious ripple effect on the economy of Zimbabwe and on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including access to health, food, safe drinking water and sanitation, education and employment,” read part of her statement.
“The situation also limits Zimbabwe’s ability to guarantee functioning of public institutions, delivery of services and maintenance of essential infrastructure and undermines the right to development of the Zimbabwean people and impedes the achievement of SDGs,” said Douhan.
Douhan noted that many companies and foreign banks applied zero risk policies and were overly compliant for the fear of heavy penalties for breaching sanctions and this has resulted in inefficient high cost bank transaactions, serious challenges in accessing credit lines and major disruptions in supply chains which impinge the abillity to secure infrastructure financing and business continuity.
“Sanctions are also fuelling corruption and money laundering and over reliance in the informal sector,” observed Douhan.
“The time is ripe for sanctioning states and key national stakeholders to engage in a meaningful structured dialogue on political, human rights and the rule of law and abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool,” charged Douhan.
She urged the US and other States to lift their sanctions on targetted individuals and entities and end over-compliance. The UN Rapporteur will present her concluding observations in a report to the Human Rights Council in September 2022.