THE United Nations (UN) has despatched a special rapporteur to assess impact of Western sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights by Zimbabweans.
Belarusian national Alena Douhan, who is the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, is set to make an official visit to the country from October 18 to 28.
The main purpose of Douhan’s visit is to examine whether and to what extent, the adoption, maintenance, or implementation of unilateral sanctions impedes the full realisation of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments.
“Following an invitation of the Government of Zimbabwe, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Ms. Alena Douhan, will undertake an official visit to country from 18 to 28 October 2021 in order to gather first-hand information related to the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights in a specific country, enabling her to conduct her assessment and evaluation of such impacts and thus to prepare relevant recommendations and guidelines on means to mitigate or eliminate these adverse impacts,” the UN said.
“The purpose of the mission is to examine, in the spirit of co-operation and dialogue, whether and to what extent the adoption, maintenance or implementation of unilateral sanctions impedes the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development. The Special Rapporteur will present her conclusions and recommendations in a report she will submit to the Human Rights Council in September 2022,” it said.
She will be seeking the views of all relevant stakeholders to inform the thematic and geographical focus of the visit and subsequent reporting.
During her visit next month, Douhan and her team plan to collect first-hand information and conduct meetings with Government authorities, civil society organizations, the private sector, and the opposition.
Douhan will also hold private meetings with UN agencies in the country, international and regional organizations, international financial institutions, the national human rights institution, and representatives of the diplomatic community in Harare.
She will draft a report on her visit which will be given to the Government of Zimbabwe. The report will set out and analyse the discussions she held and will make recommendations to internal actors at the 51st session of the Human Rights Council which will take place in September 2022, including the Government of Zimbabwe.
EU and US sanctions were first imposed on Zimbabwe in 2002 in relation to the escalation of violence and intimidation of political opponents and the harassment and the independent press. These sanctions have shaped Zimbabwe’s domestic policies and the country’s relations with western nations.
The government under Emmerson Mnangagwa attributes the country’s economic meltdown to these sanctions. A larger population of the country are facing extreme poverty due to foreign currency and cash shortages and excessive utility costs and low wages which have led to a decreased demand for goods and services.