UN Special Rapporteur calls for removal of sanctions

by | Oct 28, 2021 | Politics | 0 comments

Mako Jerera

The United Nations special rapporteur, Professor Alena Douhan who has been in the country since October 18 to assess the impact of sanctions has called for the removal of sanctions, saying they limit Zimbabwe`s growth prospects.

Ms Douhan undertook field visits to enable her to assess and evaluate their adverse effects before preparing recommendations and guidelines on means to mitigate or eliminate illegal sanctions imposed on the country.

A statement from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights released on Wednesday, said that Douhan called for the lifting of unilateral sanctions against Zimbabwe, and urged meaningful structured dialogue on political reform, human rights and the rule of law.

Ms Douhan 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, the diplomatic corps and other stakeholders.

“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, food, safe drinking water and sanitation, education and employment,” Ms Douhan said.

She said Zimbabwe`s growth is being inhibited by the illegal restrictions.

“This situation also limits Zimbabwe’s ability to guarantee the 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 the sustainable development goals,” said Douhan.

She said many companies, as well as foreign banks, applied zero-risk policies and were overly compliant fearing heavy penalties for breaching sanctions. This has resulted in inefficient high-cost bank transactions, serious challenges in accessing credit lines and major disruptions in supply-chains, which impinge the ability to secure infrastructure financing and business continuity.

“The US and other States should lift their sanctions on targeted individuals and entities and end over-compliance,” said Ms Douhan.
The Special Rapporteur will present her concluding observations in a report to the Human Rights Council in September 2022.

Ms Alena Douhan (Belarus) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights by the Human Rights Council in March 2020.

Ms. Douhan has extensive experience in the fields of international law and human rights as, a Professor of international law at the Belarusian State University (Minsk), a visiting Professor at the the Institute for International Law of Peace and Armed conflict, (Bochum, Germany) and the Director of the Peace Research Centre (Minsk).

She received her PhD at the Belarusian State University in 2005 and obtained Dr. hab. in International Law and European Law in 2015 (Belarus).

Ms. Douhan’s academic and research interests are in the fields of international law, sanctions and human rights law, international security law, law of international organizations, international dispute settlement, and international environmental law.