SADC Regional Anti-sanctions lobbying bears fruits

by | Sep 29, 2021 | International, Politics | 0 comments

 

-as UN send mission to assess impact of sanctions on human rights

Hosia Mviringi

SADC`s collective renouncement of sanctions against Zimbabwe has started bearing fruit, as the United Nations have deployed a Special Rapporteur to Zimbabwe to ascertain the extent of the impact of unilateral coercive sanctions to the economy and general wellbeing of the citizens of Zimbabwe.

Alena Douhan, from Belarus, is expected to have a ten-day stay in the country from October 18 to 28.

During the time the mission will consider submissions from all sectors of society and government to highlight the extent to which the measures have impeded the enjoyment of human rights by citizens of Zimbabwe during the nearly two decades of subsistence of sanctions.

“Following an invitation by the government of Zimbabwe, the United Nations Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Ms Alena Douhan, will undertake an official visit to the country from 18 to 28 October 2021,” said the UN in a statement announcing the intended visit.

Ms Douhan is expected to hold marathon meetings with Government authorities, Civic society, opposition, private sector, and other interest groups.

 

A public report on the country visit outlining its findings will be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 51st Plenary Session in September 2022.

The United Nations Human Rights Council, on March 24, 2017 adopted resolution 34/13 on human rights and coercive measures, which among other things stresses that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter and principles governing peaceful relations among member States.

It further highlights that in the long term these measures may result in social problems and raise humanitarian concerns in the targeted States.

In an endeavour to address grievances within international systems and in order to uphold multi literalism, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Human Rights Council decided to create the mandate of the Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures or sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights.

Zimbabwe has experienced a groundswell of international solidarity emanating from the collective SADC members’ call to have the sanctions lifted.

SADC Summit of Heads of State and Government, at its 39th Session in 2019 in Tanzania, adopted a resolution to recognise sanctions on Zimbabwe as an affront to the whole region.

A commitment was made at that Summit to set aside October 25 of each year as a day for SADC to commemorate and demand removal of sanctions against Zimbabwe through various activities across the region.

A mandate was also granted to all SADC Heads of State and Government and all senior leaders to use every opportunity to lobby at international fora for the unconditional scrapping of the embargo.

The world mother body could not afford a deaf ear anymore to the ear piercing demand by the Southern Africans for the United Nations to look into the legality and impact of unilateral sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the Western bloc led by the United States of America.

For any international sanctions to be considered as legal they must be approved and ratified by consensus through the United Nations Security Council.

 

A strong message was sent this year’s edition of the UNGA as two influential Southern African leaders boldly and loudly proclaimed the common SADC position by unapologetically demanding for the unconditional lifting of the economic embargo which has regrettably taken a toll on all economies of the Southern African region.

First to present his speech was the South African President H.E Cyril Ramaphosa who did not mince his words in demanding an end to the ruinous sanctions which he identified as having crippled the Zimbabwean economy.

“We also call on the lifting of the sanctions that are crippling Zimbabwe and crippling its economy,” said President Ramaphosa at the United Nations symposium.

President of Botswana, Mogkweetsi Eric Masisi made a similar call in his speech as he followed the script to the letter.

“In addition to the threat to peace and stability brought about by the terrorist insurgency in Mozambique, which we condemn, sanctions against Zimbabwe are a setback to our stability in the region. Botswana therefore calls on the international community to end sanctions against Zimbabwe”.