"These sanctions are illegal and hurt the most vulnerable in our society," President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Alena Douhan, arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday for a 10-day mission to assess the impact of sanctions on the country.
She met President Emmerson Mnangagwa ahead of meeting other stakeholders from whom she will gather first-hand information related to the negative impact of the sanctions. Mnangagwa reiterated that the western-imposed sanctions were hurting ordinary Zimbabweans.
"It was a pleasure to welcome Alena Douhan, the UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, to Zimbabwe. Her 10-day trip aims to assess the impact of punitive economic sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans. These sanctions are illegal and hurt the most vulnerable in our society," he said.
Douhan will undertake field visits to enable her to assess and evaluate their adverse effects before preparing recommendations and guidelines on means to mitigate or eliminate them. Together with her team, she will collect information and hold a series of meetings with government authorities, civil society organizations, private sector and opposition parties.
She will seek to establish what types of sanctions have the most negative impact on the enjoyment of human rights in Zimbabwe and what categories of the population are affected by unilateral sanctions in Zimbabwe the most. Their impact on the provision of health during the COVID-19 pandemic will also be interrogated.The private sector will also make representations on how it has been affected by the sanctions.
After that, she is expected to issue a statement on her preliminary findings at the end of her tour on Oct. 28 and then submit a public report to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Her visit follows an invitation by the Zimbabwean government, which has been reeling under unilateral sanctions from western countries led by largely the United States and Britain.
While those who imposed sanctions argue that they are targeted on a few individuals, their impact was being felt throughout the whole economy. As a result of the sanctions, especially the United States' Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, Zimbabwe has not enjoyed as much support from international financial institutions as it should.
The sanctions were imposed in 2001 when the country embarked on land reforms which saw thousands of white commercial farmers losing their land to formerly landless blacks.