United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Alena Douhan

UN envoy calls for immediate end to sanctions… MDC Alliance welcomes report

Douhan said the sanctions were also fuelling corruption, money laundering and racketeering, and all that imposed a cost burden on the poor members of society.

THE United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights, Alena Douhan, has issued a preliminary report in which she tells the US and Western allies to lift the sanctions forthwith as they have caused untold suffering on ordinary citizens while also leading to increased corruption and money laundering.

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Douhan said 20 years of the West’s illegal sanctions has left Zimbabweans unable to enjoy fundamental human rights such access to clean water, health services, quality education and employment opportunities as industries have had to shut down or operate on reduced capacity.

She added that Zimbabwe has been unable to repair its infrastructure such as roads network, dams, irrigation, rail and telecommunications facilities. Private business have also beem impacted by the ruinous sanctions declared by the US in 2001 and which have been renewed without failure every year in March.

However, Douhan urged the sanctioning nations to “abandon rhetoric on sanctions as an advocacy tool”. She also urged Zimbabwean authorities to work with hostile Western nations and “key national stakeholders to engage in a meaningful… dialogue on political reform, human rights and the rule of law.”

Douhan said the sanctions were also fuelling corruption, money laundering and racketeering, and all that imposed a cost burden on the poor members of society.

She said the US and other sanctioning states should lift their sanctions forthwith and engage in meaningful dialogue with Zimbabwean authorities on human rights, political reforms and the rule of law. The antagonistic parties must also end the use of rhetoric on the issue of sanctions as an advocacy tool, said Douhan.

Commenting on the developments, main opposition MDC Alliance welcomed the statement saying bad governance and corruption had to end for Zimbabwe to prosper economically.

“This is what the MDC Alliance has consistently said,” Fadzayi Mahere, the opposition spokesperson, said.

“The end to Zimbabwe’s international isolation must be anchored on a return to legitimacy, democracy and the establishment of a true multi-party democracy. Bad governance and corruption must stop if our nation is to prosper.”

Another fierce critic of the ruling party, journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, also welcomed the “reasonableness” of the statement even though he has been on a spirited campaign against Douhan even before she landed in Harare last week.

“Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of sanctions, has issued a preliminary report on her visit to Zimbabwe. I might not agree with everything in it, but as someone who was critical of her previous reports, I acknowledge her report’s reasonableness!” Chin’ono said.

Prior to the start of her 10-day fact-finding mission which ends this week, Douhan was clear that there was no excuse for the sanctions as they were causing untold suffering on the general populace despite the US insistence that the restrictive measures were targeted.

Douhan, who was in Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Zimbabwe Government, visited Harare and Bulawayo. She met senior Government officials, pensioners, directors of State entities and private businesses, leaders of civic society organisations and the church, opposition politicians and other various interest groups.

This is a developing story. – HourlyHits.com

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