The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan, has called on the United States and other Western countries to lift unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe.In a statement issued at the end of her 10-day fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe, Douhan said the unilateral “sanctions on targeted individuals and entities” have resulted in unintended consequences and exacerbated pre-existing social and economic challenges for ordinary Zimbabweans.
“The U.S. and other States should lift their sanctions on targeted individuals and entities and end over-compliance,” Douhan said.
She said the sanctions and various forms of over-compliance with sanctions have had a 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.
In an apparent reference to the ongoing noise by the Zimbabwean government and its regional partners about the sanctions, the UN official said the Harare authorities should move beyond “rhetoric on sanctions” and work towards meaningful dialogue aimed at addressing the situation in the country.
“The time is ripe for sanctioning States and key national stakeholders to engage in a meaningful structured dialogue on political reform, human rights and the rule of law, and abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool,” she added.
Zimbabwe has been subject to targeted Western financial and travel measures against selected individuals and some companies accused of involvement in human rights abuses since 2002.
The measures include the freezing of bank accounts and other assets owned by these individuals and entities as well as travel bans.
The Harare authorities have garnered the support of fellow Southern African Development Community members as well as the African Union to demand the removal of the measures, resulting in the declaration by SADC of October 25 as Anti Sanctions Day.