The United Nations has called upon the United States of America, the European Union, and all other countries, corporates and multinational organisations that maintains sanctions against Zimbabwe to quickly consider engaging in progressive political dialogue with a view to lifting all primary and secondary sanctions imposed on the country.
This was revealed in a comprehensive report released recently by the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Impact of Unilateral Sanctions on the Enjoyment of Human Rights on Zimbabwe, Ms Alena Douhan.
Douhan visited Zimbabwe between October 18-28, 2021 for a week long visit during which time she undertook comprehensive engagement with all stakeholders in an effort to understand the extent of the impact of unilateral sanctions on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights by the citizens of Zimbabwe.
“The Special Rapporteur calls upon sanctioning States to engage in meaningful and structured political dialogue with Zimbabwe on human rights, good governance and rule of law with a view to lifting all primary and secondary sanctions imposed on legal and natural persons in Zimbabwe in accordance with principles of international law and the rule of law, and guarantee the rights of targeted individuals to the presumption of innocence, procedural guarantees, access to justice and other fundamental rights,” said Ms Douhan in the report.
In the report, Ms Douhan acknowledged how the illegal 20 year economic blockade on Zimbabwe has impacted on the construction and maintenance of basic infrastructure which is a key supporting pillar to optimum functioning of the economy, without which government can not intervene effectively in social services provision.
Even though government has been doing tremendously well in it’s renewed commitment to revamp the country’s infrastructure, lack of access to cheap international finance has hindered and slowed down the pace of rehabilitation of dilapidated and outdated infrastructure.
“Unilateral sanctions and over compliance also facilitated the collapse of public transportation and the network of roads, railways and airports. For many years, Zimbabwe has been unable to properly rehabilitate transportation infrastructure and buy material equipment, reagents and spare parts, which has compromised the safety and reliability of transport systems,” noted the report.
The report reconfirms that unilateral economic sanctions were responsible for forced migration of the majority of citizens who undertake dangerous sojourn into neighbouring countries and Western capitals where they are subjected to forced labour, prostitution, and voluntary slavery as a result of a dysfunctional economy at home which can not sustain gainful employment for it’s citizens.
“Numerous Zimbabwean migrants and refugees were reported to engage in covert and often dangerous journeys to western and neighbouring countries, living in substandard conditions and being subjected to forced labour and servitude, forced prostitution and trafficking in persons. Some submissions allege that a substantial percentage of women and girls involved in prostitution in South Africa may be nationals of Zimbabwe.”
Unilateral sanctions has progressively sucked out all breath from the country’s agriculture sector, affecting it’s ability to feed it’s people. The number of food insecure people continue to increase as a result from 42 pre cent of the population in 2017 to 8.6 million or 60 per cent in 2020. This has been partly been a direct result of the unilateral sanctioning of the country’s suppliers of agricultural machinery and consumables such Belaruskali, a supplier of potash fertilisers to the country.
“Additional challenges in the agricultural sector appeared after sanctions were imposed on Belaruskali, the Belarusian producer of potash fertilizers that used to provide Zimbabwe with 100 per cent of its fertilizer needs. As noted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Food Programme, fertilizers are at risk of becoming unavailable to farmers in Zimbabwe due to complicated logistics and costs related to travel, production and refining.”
The latest UN report vindicates the Zimbabwean government’s position over the years asserting the illegality of the unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe and their adverse effects on the economy and the general wellbeing of citizens.