Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday welcomed the UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on Human Rights in Harare.
The envoy, Belarusian Alena Douhan, who is also a professor of international law, met President Emmerson Mnangagwa at State House.
In a statement the presidency said her 10-day trip aimed to “assess the impact of punitive economic sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans”.
“These sanctions are illegal and hurt the most vulnerable in our society,” the presidency said.
Douhan also held a meeting with the minister of justice and legal affairs Ziyambi Ziyambi who gave the envoy an overview on the sanctions.
“We met the special rapporteur as the ministry of justice to give an overview of the effects of sanctions, but I am afraid that now we are unable to give details, or deliberations as you are aware they are on a fact-finding mission to establish the extent of the effects of sanctions on the ordinary people,” Ziyambi told journalists.
During the 10-day visit the special envoy will be in contact with civic society groups, Zimbabwe’s chief justice Luke Malaba, Central Bank governor John Mangudya, speaker of parliament Jacob Mudenda and political parties.
From her visit she’s expected to produce a report that will be made public in September next year at the UN Human Rights Council 51st session.
The US through the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 (ZIDERA) placed an embargo on Zimbabwe’s ruling elite and companies linked to them because of an escalation in human rights violations linked to politics.
The European Union followed suit in 2002 through “common position 2002/145/CSFP”.
Over the years, the ruling party Zanu-PF has maintained that the sanctions affect ordinary citizens. But Western countries insist that Zimbabwe should put in place reforms and strong institutions to curb corruption, promote human rights and democracy for sanctions to be removed.
The EU and the US review their sanctions lists annually and last year they added President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s special adviser and businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei to the list.