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UN sanctions envoy presses ED on reforms and urges ‘meaningful dialogue’

By Nyashadzashe Ndoro | Nehanda Politics |

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan unexpectedly told President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to “abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool” and urged him to engage sanctioning states and key stakeholders on a meaningful structured dialogue on political reform, human rights and rule of law.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan unexpectedly told President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to "abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool"
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on unilateral coercive measures, Alena Douhan unexpectedly told President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s regime to “abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool”

Douhan said this Wednesday while ending her visit to Zimbabwe after completing a two-week visit of the country during which she held meetings with government officials and some interest groups.

“The US and other States should lift their sanctions on targeted individuals and entities and end over-compliance,” she said in a statement.

“Sanctioning States and key stakeholders to engage in a meaningful structured dialogue on political reform, human rights and rule of law, and abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an art of advocacy tool.”

Douhan also urged the United States and other western countries to “lift their sanctions on targeted individuals and entities”, blaming the measures for creating unintended ripple effects of “over compliance”. She said sanctions were crippling Zimbabwe’s right to development.

“This situation 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,” she said.

The Special Rapporteur is expected to present a public report on her Zimbabwean visit to the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 51st Session in September 2022.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Zimbabwe Timo Olkkonen on Monday said they would only lift sanctions on Zimbabwe when authorities start committing to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law.

“The restrictive measures are there for a reason, which is the human rights situation. The future steps the EU will be taking on those will be as a reflection why they were put in place in the first place and that is the human rights situation. So, that is the decisive factor for us,” Olkkonen said this on the Twitter spaces hosted by journalist Hopewell Chin’ono to discuss the occasion of Zanu PF’s anti-sanctions day.

The US Embassy in Harare also said its sanctions were not targeted on the government but specific individuals.

“US sanctions only target those who engage in corruption, violate human rights, and undermine democratic processes in Zimbabwe. The Government of Zimbabwe as a whole is not subject to US sanctions.

“Only 83 individuals and 37 companies, in a country of over 15 million, are targeted by sanctions,” read a statement by the US posted on Twitter. Nehanda Radio

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