COMMENT: The voice of reason must prevail over Zimbabwe sanctions

The Chronicle

THE United Nations Special Rapporteur Professor Alena Douhan has said sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West in the last 20 years have among others, adversely affected the country’s ability to boost its manufacturing sector, build health and education infrastructure and has also led to massive brain drain.

In her preliminary report released on Tuesday, Prof Douhan said due to the lengthy period of imposition of unilateral sanctions, it is complicated to identify their exact impact on the situation in the country as it is affected by a number of elements.

Prof Douhan’s final report is expected to be presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in September next year. In the report, Prof Douhan said the unilateral sanctions, secondary sanctions and over compliance in their complexity, have inhibited the building of essential infrastructure and international and inter-institutional co-operation necessary for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

“The designation of senior State officials as well as companies owned or controlled by them makes companies and banks unwilling to do business with Zimbabwe’s public sector thereby preventing Government from getting revenue for the exercise of its functions and provision of essential services.

This results in the violation of labour and social rights of the people involved in the public sector whose salaries are reported to be much lower than in the private sector.

This has led to rising unemployment, especially among the most qualified professionals like engineers, doctors, teachers, university professors, judges and police officers which at times is reported to reach 30-50,” said Prof Douhan.

She said because of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, the country is being qualified as a ‘‘high risk’’ country and as such foreign companies were unwilling to do business with it.

It is our fervent hope that the voice of reason will prevail in the US, UK, Canada and Australia after going through Prof Douhan’s preliminary report which, in our opinion, is very detailed and has fully assessed the impact of sanctions on Zimbabwe.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) which every October joins Zimbabwe to push for the removal of illegal sanctions, has also produced a similar report on the impact of the sanctions.

Sadc chairperson and Malawi president Mr Lazarus Chakwera in his message to mark the Anti-Sanctions Day this year, said the regional block stands firm in solidarity with the Government of Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans in calling for the removal of the illegal sanctions.

He said the sanctions have had devastating effects on the lives of Zimbabweans. “As Sadc, we are concerned by the continuation of sanctions on some individuals or entities of Zimbabwe and hereby call for the unconditional and immediate lifting of the sanctions.

There is no doubt that this lifting of the sanctions will facilitate socio-economic recovery and enable Zimbabwe to meet her national and regional economic development plans as well as effectively manage her international obligations,” said president Chakwera.

What is very clear is that the so-called targeted sanctions are making ordinary Zimbabweans suffer and we do not expect the US and UK, who claim to be champions of human rights, to ignore this suffering.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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