UN to send Special Rapporteur to assess impact of Western economic santions on Zimbabwe

Ms. Alena Douhan
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UNITED NATIONS – Following an invitation of the Government of Zimbabwe, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, Ms. Alena Douhan,  will undertake an official visit to country from 18 to 28 October 2021.

The Special Rapporteur and her team will collect information and hold a series of meetings with Government authorities, civil society organizations, private sector and opposition. The Special Rapporteur will present a public report on the country visit to the United Nations Human Rights Council during its 51st Session in September 2022.

She is currently seeking the views of all relevant stakeholders to inform the thematic and geographical focus of the visit and subsequent reporting.

Please send any responses to the questions to ucm@ohchr.org and lpardo@un.org as soon as possible but no later than 10 October 2021. Submissions received after this date can only be considered for the Special Rapporteur’s report to the UN Human Rights Council.

Please feel free to share this call for submissions with all stakeholders.

Your responses will be kept confidential. Neither you nor your organization will be identified, and your response will not be attributed to you or your organization, under any circumstances.

Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us: ucm@ohchr.org and lpardo@un.org.

Further background information about the mandate is available below.


Background information

On 24 March 2017, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 34/13 on human rights and unilateral coercive measures. The resolution stresses that unilateral coercive measures and legislation are contrary to international law, international humanitarian law, the Charter and the norms and principles governing peaceful relations among States, and highlights that on long-term, these measures may result in social problems and raise humanitarian concerns in the States targeted. Highlighting the deep-rooted problems and grievances within the international system and in order to ensure multilateralism, mutual respect and the peaceful settlement of disputes, the Human Rights Council decided to create the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights.

The country visit to Zimbabwe

In order to gather first-hand information related to the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights in a specific country, enabling her to conduct her assessment and evaluation of such impacts and thus to prepare relevant recommendations and guidelines on means to mitigate or eliminate these adverse impacts, the Special Rapporteur undertakes field visits.

The purpose of the mission is to examine, in the spirit of co-operation and dialogue, whether and to what extent the adoption, maintenance or implementation of unilateral sanctions impedes the full realization of the rights set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the right of individuals and peoples to development (cfr. A/HRC/RES/27/21, OP.1). The Special Rapporteur will present her conclusions and recommendations in a report she will submit to the Human Rights Council in September 2022.

Meetings and other activities

The Special Rapporteur proposes to meet with various representatives of the Government of Zimbabwe. She will also have private meetings with United Nations agencies present in Zimbabwe, as well as international organizations, regional organizations, international financial institutions, the national human rights institution, and representatives of the diplomatic community present in Harare. She would also like to meet with non-governmental, business community, civil society organizations and opposition, in particular those whose activities may be affected by unilateral coercive measures, as well as academics with specific expertise in this field. Those private meetings will be organized by the Special Rapporteur’s office.


The Special Rapporteur will submit a report on her visit, which will be an addendum to her report to the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, to take place in September 2022. The report will set out and analyse the discussions she has had during the visit and will make recommendations to a number of internal and external actors, including to the Government of Zimbabwe. The Government of Zimbabwe will be given a draft of the report for comments on error of fact before final submission.

Call for submissions

While all submissions are welcome, and the below is by no means exhaustive, the Special Rapporteur would be grateful for comments that address topics such as:

  1. Individuals and organizations with whom the Special Rapporteur should meet during her country visit.
  2. What specific human rights are affected by unilateral sanctions introduced against Zimbabwe? Can you give examples of violation of particular rights by unilateral sanctions?
  3. What types of sanctions have the most negative impact over the enjoyment of human rights in Zimbabwe?
  4. What categories of population are affected by unilateral sanctions in Zimbabwe the most? Please, provide examples.
  5. Is the mechanism of getting licenses for purchase of various categories of goods under sanctions’ regime feasible? Does it provide for the possibility to guarantee basic needs of the population?
  6. How has the implementation of unilateral sanctions affects the health sector during the COVID-19 pandemic?
  7. How has application of unilateral sanctions affects the unemployment rate in Zimbabwe?
  8. Does the existing economic situation provide for the possibility to guarantee the needs of unemployed people, people with disabilities, indigenous people, children, pregnant women, or vulnerable groups in Zimbabwe?
  9. What measures have been taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to guarantee the rights of the affected population and the population in general: social programmes, support of the most vulnerable categories, restructuration of the economy, search for new trade partners etc.?
  10. How is the private sector in Zimbabwe affected by the application of unilateral sanctions?
  11. Can over-compliance with unilateral sanctions be identified? What human rights are affected by over-compliance?
  12. What is the impact of sectoral sanctions over the Human Rights of Zimbabwean population?
  13. What measures have been taken by the Government of Zimbabwe to fulfil recommendations of international organizations for economy stabilization and suppression of criminality?

Source: United Nations