UN calls for lifting of Zim sanctions, urges Govt to address human rights abuses

The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator to Zimbabwe, Edward Kallon has called on the government to address human rights abuses and create a fair playing ground for all, where civic participation can thrive in order to find solutions bedevilling the country.

In the same vein, the UN official called on the international community to lift the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe, saying the country needed a chance to rebuild itself as ordinary masses were suffering.

His sentiments come on the backdrop of the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace, celebrated annually on April 24, which is a day that seeks to reaffirm the UN Charter and its principles of resolving disputes among countries through peaceful means.

The UN resident coordinator said the future hinged on international cooperation for the common good while global security depended on the norms set out in the UN Charter and the body of international law.

“A world in crisis needs action, cooperation, and trust. It needs every country to do its part including Zimbabwe. We resolve to call on the global community to invest in what we are calling network and inclusive multilateralism as path to peace and development,” he said during a media briefing in Bulawayo Tuesday.

Kallo said on that premise, looking at Zimbabwe’s needs, the sanctions imposed on the country had to be lifted.

“My position is very clear; Zimbabwe needs to reproduce itself and it can only do that if the sanctions are lifted. It is so critical to remove the scourge around people of Zimbabwe all that I’ve learnt when I arrived here is the severe impact of sanctions on ordinary Zimbabweans,” said the UN official.

He noted that if Zimbabwe is allowed to reproduce itself, it could override its debt it owed and clear its arrears.

“But without the opportunity to reproduce itself, it would be extremely difficult,” he said but hastened to also call on the Zimbabwean government to create a fair playing ground and encourage civic participation.

“It must address issues of human rights concerns in order to create a platform to find solutions to this long, long problem of sanctions in this country.”

Kallon, who arrived in Zimbabwe on January 7, 2022, and presented his credentials to President Emmerson Mnangagwa on March 3, 2022, said he was still new in the country and was on a steep learning curve.

“But I’ve started appreciating some of the (challenges). When I presented my credentials to the president, I requested one thing and that is a need to create an apex coordination platform that could be a place for policy and dialogue at the highest level. People must talk, if we don’t talk nothing moves, we must ask those difficult questions…On this day of multilateralism, I really call on the international community to review the current sanctions regime, explore possibilities of debt relief and give people of Zimbabwe a chance to live in a just world,” he said.

At the same media briefing, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana also spoke on the unfair system of multilateralism.

“In 2008 July there was an attempt at a multilateral consensus in imposing sanctions against Zimbabwe, the multilateral system that was there did not yield expected outcomes was that everybody deserves to be under sanctions Russia and China using the system that was replaced exercised their veto rights and so the multilateral system did not achieve what was meant to be achieved, what happened was a unilateral system where sanctions were unilaterally imposed and the multilateral system failed and that’s wrong,” he said.

Mangwana questioned whether the multilateral system promoted the global south or hegemony of the powerful countries was embedded in it,

“Look at multi-layer institutions like the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and so on, are they working fairly to promote justice. Is Zimbabwe and other African countries treated fairly in that multilateralism system or is there still hegemony embedded in that multilateral system,” he said.

“We believe the global tension; the world faces and the abandonment of the consensus and compliance in the multilateral system that we agreed on, which has a number of resolutions, is what is disturbing world peace and international progress. As a multilateral system, the world could have easily confronted the financial crisis in 2008. The world could have confronted global warming because the countries that are contributing much less should survive with certain energies while those who are contributing quite a lot to depletion of the ozone layer contribute very little. Again, this is the unfairness of the multilateral system.” 

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