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UN must act on lifting of Zimbabwe sanctions

by Staff reporter
26 Sep 2021 at 18:33hrs | Views
THIS year's United Nations General Assembly, held in hybrid format in New York due to the coronavirus pandemic, has once again shone the spotlight on the devastating impact of years of sanctions on Zimbabwe while accelerating calls for the punitive measures to be lifted. President Mnangagwa addressed the annual gathering of world leaders virtually from Harare in a pre-recorded speech on Thursday, which highlighted the need for equal access to Covid-19 vaccines and a united front in confronting the pandemic.

The President said there should be no room for discrimination as the world seeks to recover from the pandemic that has killed more than four million people globally. The 76th session of the Assembly, convened under the theme, "Building Resilience Through Hope to Recover from Covid-19, Rebuild Sustainably, Respond to the Needs of the Planet, Respect the Rights of People and Revitalise the United Nations", comes against the backdrop of Covid-19 which behoves the world to draw from the collective milestones achieved to date, promote the time-held values of multilateralism and unity of purpose to mitigate the global health threat.

In this regard, President Mnangagwa told world leaders that the hoarding and inequitable distribution of vaccines around the world which have resulted in an uneven vaccination pattern was unacceptable, self-defeating and contrary to the mantra that no one is safe until everyone is safe.

While Zimbabwe has achieved remarkable milestones in its vaccination programme which has seen it inoculate more than 10 percent of its population so far, the pandemic has demonstrated the urgent need to build resilient economies and societies that are able to cope in times of shocks and hazards.

Zimbabwe's economy has largely remained resilient during the pandemic, thanks to the far-reaching reforms adopted by the Second Republic anchored on a prudent macro-economic policy and an equally sound monetary policy. It is remarkable that the country's economy is projected to grow by 6 percent notwithstanding the pandemic which has necessitated unplanned spending, curtailing of production in industry and commerce and disruption to everyday life.

In addition, Zimbabwe has been groaning under the weight sanctions imposed by the West at the turn of the millennium and this has affected the country's capacity to respond to the pandemic. In this vein and to ensure that the world has an appreciation of the devastating effects that the sanctions have wrought on Zimbabwe, President Mnangagwa told the General Assembly that the Government had invited the UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, Ms Alena Douhan, to visit the country.

"This will afford the Special Rapporteur an opportunity to witness first hand, the devastating impact of these illegal sanctions on my country. We reiterate our call for the urgent unconditional removal of these illegal sanctions," President Mnangagwa said.

Ms Douhan will be in Zimbabwe from October 18-20, 2021 and will present a public report on the country visit to the UN Human Rights Council during its 51st session in September 2022. Sadc has declared October 25 as Anti-Sanctions Day and has rallied behind the campaign to lift the embargo.

In his address to the General Assembly last Thursday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reiterated his call for the lifting of sanctions by the United States, Britain and their allies.

"We also call for the lifting of sanctions that are crippling Zimbabwe and its economy," he said.

We welcome the solidarity from Sadc, the African Union and other progressive nations of the world in the anti-sanctions fight and call on the UN to exhort the powerful nations which imposed punitive measures on Zimbabwe to lift them.

The Second Republic has demonstrated a willingness to re-engage with the wider community of nations since it came into power and should be assisted to re-integrate Zimbabwe and shed its pariah status through lifting the debilitating sanctions. The visit by the UN Special Rapporteur, Ms Douhan is, therefore, an important marker in the journey to finally freeing Zimbabwe from the yoke of sanctions.

Her office was created out of UN Resolution 34/13 on human rights and coercive measures. It stresses that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, the Charter and norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States.

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

"Highlighting the deep rooted problems and grievances within the international system and in order to ensure multilateralism, mutual respect and peaceful settlement of disputes, the Human Rights Council decided to create the mandate of the Special Rapporteur," the UN says.

We welcome her to Zimbabwe and note from her schedule made available on the UN website that Ms Douhan will meet a cross–section of society to appreciate the devastating effects of sanctions on the Zimbabwean populace.

Her visit will afford her the opportunity to see, first hand, how sanctions have crippled the health delivery system, retarded the growth of business, industry and commerce, spawned unemployment and hamstrung Government's ability to deliver on its mandate.

We are glad that Ms Douhan's visit will bring to the attention of the world the negative impact of the coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights in Zimbabwe. Hopefully, her assessment mission will result in a recommendation and guidelines to mitigate the effects of sanctions, and eventually their lifting.

This is because sanctions impede the full realisation of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments, in particular, the right of individuals to development.

Zimbabwe, through its re-engagement policy, has committed to a peaceful co-existence, and to be a friend to all and enemy to none as it seeks to build an equal partnership for a win-win co-operation and a common future with other progressive nations of the world. We believe now is the time to give its people a chance, having endured two decades of economic strangulation.

Source - sundaymail
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