Zim welcomes UN findings on sanctions
Harare (New Ziana) – Findings by UN special rapporteur, Alena Douhan, that Western imposed illegal sanctions are negatively impacting the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans is welcome vindication of what the government and other progressive forces have been saying over the years, President Emerson Mnangagwa has said.
The sanctions, which the imposing nations have claimed are targeted at the ruling elite, have limited investment and trade with the outside world, which the government estimates to have cost the economy almost US$100 billion over the past two decades.
American and some Western companies are barred from investing and trading with Zimbabwe under the sanctions, while multilateral lending agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank also stopped advancing loans to the country.
As a result, the country’s economy shrunk considerably, forcing an estimated three million highly skilled Zimbabweans to emigrate to neighboring countries and beyond.
In a statement at the end of her two week visit to assess the impact of sanctions on the livelihoods of ordinary Zimbabweans, Douhan said the embargoes had worsened the lives of poor Zimbabweans particularly women, children, the elderly and those with disabilities.
“Over the last 20 years, 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, safe drinking water and sanitation, education and employment,” said Douhan.
She added; “This situation also limits Zimbabwe’s ability to guarantee the functioning of public infrastructure, and undermines the right to development of the Zimbabwean people and impedes the achievement of the sustainable development goals.”
Commenting on the frank assessment by Douhan, President Mnangagwa described the sanctions as heinous.
“We welcome her unequivocal call for the lifting of the unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe. We are happy that she has vindicated us that these sanctions are not only illegal but are against international law,” he said while addressing the ruling Zanu PF party’s central committee meeting on the second day of the annual National People’s Conference.
“The spiteful sanctions have been designed to choke us for daring to reclaim our land and must be immediately and unconditionally removed. Together in unity, victory over illegal sanctions is certain.”
During her stay in Zimbabwe, Douhan visited Harare and Bulawayo, and held meetings with government officials, civil society, trade unions, faith based organisations, business associations, diplomatic corps and other stakeholders.
The UN special rapporteur is expected to present her findings on the effects of sanctions on Zimbabweans to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2022.
The United States and the European Union (EU) slapped the sanctions on Zimbabwe 2001 after the government compulsorily acquired excess farmland from white farmers, who owned the bulk of agricultural land as a colonial privilege, to resettle landless blacks.
Over half a million people were resettled in what is considered one of the biggest economic empowerment programmes on the African continent.