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Zimbabwe sanctions should end to boost post-Mugabe economy, UN experts urge

GENEVA (27 November 2017) – Two UN independent human rights experts* have welcomed the avoidance of bloodshed during the change of power from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, calling on the international community to respond by lifting sanctions. 

“The resignation of Mr. Mugabe heralds the emergence of a new era, which must be based on democracy and the rule of law,” the experts on democracy and sanctions said.

“However, this cannot happen under the shadow of economic coercion. Sanctions have been in place since the early part of this century, and have led only to the suffering of ordinary people rather than bringing about political change.  Now is the time for political dialogue, and the restoration of a functioning economy.

“The human rights of ordinary Zimbabweans suffer greatly from the consequences of sanctions and we urge the international community to lift them.” 

The experts said the sanctions could not be said to be “limited” or “targeted”, as the people and companies affected represented the vast majority of the economy. 

“Zimbabwe’s economy is heavily concentrated in particular sectors, and sanctions on only a few people or companies can have a devastating impact,” the experts said, adding that some businesses were currently “over-complying” with the sanctions because of confusion over their scope.

“We urge the international community to work with Zimbabwe to restore the economy and the financial system, and to create the conditions necessary for free and fair elections,” the experts stated. “We must all work together for peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe.”


*The UN experts: Mr. Idriss Jazairy, Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, and Mr. Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

The experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights country page - Zimbabwe

For more information and media requests, please contact Stee Asbjornsen (+41 22 917 9827 / sasbjornsen@ohchr.org ) or write to ucm@ohchr.org

 For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / mediaconsultant2@ohchr.org

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