THE UN Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the US and her allies, Ms Elena Douhan, is expected in the country today on a 10-day visit.
The visit follows an invitation from the Government of Zimbabwe. Ms Douhan is scheduled to meet various stakeholders that include Government officials, civil society organisations, the private sector and opposition political parties.
The visit runs up to October 28 and the Special Rapporteur will present a public report on the country’s visit to the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 51st Session in September 2022.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana confirmed the visit on his Twitter handle yesterday.
“Ms Elena Douhan, the UN Special Envoy for Human Rights will be in the country from tomorrow to assess the impact of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe. There is no question on the deleterious impact of Sanctions on this country.
Let’s all speak with one voice on #ZimSanctionsMustGo,” Mr Mangwana said.
The visit comes at a time when Zimbabwe next Monday commemorates the third Sadc Anti-Sanctions Day following its adoption by the Heads of State and Government Summit held in Tanzania in 2019.
The day is used to call for the unconditional removal of the sanctions that have been in existence for nearly two decades and have cost the country over US$42 billion.
While the EU has removed some of the restrictions against the country, the US’ misnamed Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act remains in place and has prevented the country from accessing loans or debt relief from multilateral financial institutions.
The West imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe as a response to the land reform that the Government embarked on at the turn of the century to correct colonial land ownership imbalances that marginalised the black majority.
This was after the West had reneged on its commitment to compensate white former farmers whose land was acquired for redistribution.
This is the first time since 2001 — when the illegal sanctions where imposed — that the UN has officially sent its senior official to assess the real impact of the sanctions on the country and its people and Zimbabwe is grateful and hopeful that the real story will come out.
Once the news broke that the rappoteur was coming to Zimbabwe, the opposition, typical to its perennial antics of stocking fires ahead of any major event, had started trying to tarnish the image of the country by painting a negative picture that the Government was violating its citizens’ human rights.
Year in, year out, the opposition MDC Alliance has tried to paint a negative image of the country ahead of any major international event and it has now become their norm.