UN calls for the removal of Zimbabwe sanctions

Sanctions, including secondary sanctions and different overcompliance overcompliance by foreign banks and companies have had a significant impact on the population and the government.

United Nations Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, has released the final report on the negative impact of prolonged sanctions on the enjoyment of human rights in Zimbabwe. She visited Zimbabwe between 18 and 28 October 2021 and met various stakeholders in Zimbabwe.

This is the second report by the UN calling for the lifting of sanctions on Zimbabwe. In 2019, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food identified sanctions as a key obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to food.

Douhan said sanctions are bringing suffering and death on ordinary Zimbabweans and are not in line with international law. The sanctions are affecting a broad scope of human rights and impeding the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.

Alena said sanctions have undoubtedly contributed to irregular movements of people however sanctioning States have failed to protect migrants and refugees.

She added that the lack of adequate financing for environmental programmes adversely affected how Zimbabwe addresses the impact of climate change and sustain agricultural

“Unilateral sanctions have also prevented the Government from using resources to develop and maintain essential infrastructure, disaster response plans and social support programmes”, reads the report.

Key points from the report

  1. The report was delayed.
  2. Douhan visited Zimbabwe on the invitation of the Zimbabwe government.
  3. Some NGOs refused to meet Douhan for fear of losing international donations.
  4. Douhan met a wide cross section of Zimbabwean stakeholders.
  5. US sanctions on Zimbabwe have been in place for 20 years, since 2001.
  6. The European Union, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and the UK have various forms of sanctions on Zimbabwe.
  7. 87 correspondent banks have left Zimbabwe.
  8. The sanctions are creating reputational risks for Zimbabwe.
  9. The economic crisis, unemployment, brain drain and deindustrialization in Zimbabwe is due to sanctions.
  10. Zimbabwe lost revenue of $42 billion because of the sanctions between 2001 and 2019.
  11. Sanctions have aggravated the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
  12. Poverty has increased sharply because of the sanctions to half the population in Zimbabwe.
  13. Zimbabwe’s 100% supplier of fertilizer, Belaruskali, has been placed under sanctions.
  14. Sanctions have also affected access to clean water, sewage, fire and waste disposal services.
  15. Sanctions have reduced public revenue by 70%.
  16. Sanctions have resulted in the collapse of the Zimbabwe health system, which affected mostly women and children.
  17. Sanctions have impacted the quality of education across Zimbabwe. School dropouts have increased dramatically in both primary and secondary schools.
  18. Sanctioning states have failed to protect and give opportunities to Zimbabwean immigrants.
  19. A substantial number of Zimbabwean girls and women have been forced into prostitution in South Africa.
  20. Sanctions have caused the collapse of public transport, roads, rail, and airports.
  21. Sanctions are responsible for the retrenchment of staff.
  22. 38% of Zimbabweans lack access to the internet.
  23. Sanctions have affected the Zimbabwe government’s ability to protect wildlife.
  24. Sanctions have affected access to identity documents.
  25. The sanctions on Zimbabwe are illegal. ZIDERA does not correspond to articles of the IMF.
  26. US Executive orders 13288 does not correspond to articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
  27. Targeted sanctions violate the principles of innocent until proven guilty and collective punishment on family members.


  1. The UN calls upon USA, Australia, Canada and the UK to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe.
  2. Zimbabwe and the USA should engage in structural dialogue to stop collateral damage.
  3. The UN calls for the USA to stop the State of Emergency on Zimbabwe which is not in line with international law.
  4. The USA should fund the rebuilding of Zimbabwe government capacity and infrastructure.
  5. The Zimbabwe government must organize the UN special procedures visits to the country.
  6. The UN must continue to monitor and report on the situation in Zimbabwe.

Below is the full document