The United States (US) representative to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield has dismissed United Nations (UN) special rapporteur Alena Douhan’s report blaming “targeted sanctions” against Zimbabwe had failed the country’s economy.
Responding to questions on Douhan’s preliminary report, presented last Thursday to journalists in Harare after her 10-day visit to Zimbabwe, Thomas-Greenfield said the US will always resist any such criticism.
Thomas-Greenfield was speaking during a digital press briefing hosted by the US Africa Regional Media Hub.
She said the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe was not because of sanctions imposed on select individuals and companies, but poor administration and human rights violations.
“I have not seen the special rapporteur’s report on Zimbabwe, but let me be clear, our sanctions target individuals and institutions that are committing human rights violations and we make every effort to ensure that those sanctions do not impact the people,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“What is happening in Zimbabwe is a result of bad policies. What is happening in Zimbabwe is a consequence of their leadership not our sanctions.
“We will always resist any criticism of us that says our sanctions are impacting people unfairly.
“You will certainly see that we will be criticised for this. We are criticised for it by the government because they know they are responsible for these actions and I regret that the special rapporteur made the decision to put this in her report.”
In her report, Douhan called on the West and the US to remove targeted restrictions against Zimbabwean individuals and companies as it was worsening the country’s economy.
“Over the last 20 years, sanctions and various forms of over-compliance with sanctions have had an insidious ripple effect on the economy of Zimbabwe and on the enjoyment of fundamental human rights, including access to health, food, safe drinking water and sanitation, education and employment,” reads Douhan’s report.
However, the report has been criticised by the civic society umbrella body, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum and the opposition MDC Alliance.
They accuse Douhan of ignoring their submissions.
MDC Alliance Vice President Tendai Biti told journalists Friday, Douhan’s the report was released a few minutes after the main opposition party had presented their views to her.
Biti said the MDC Alliance had since written to the UN headquarters in New York, US registering their objections over Douhan’s report and her conduct while in Zimbabwe.