Remove financial sanctions on Zimbabwe for Human Rights reasons

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Zimbabwe has been under restrictive measures or rather targeted economic sanctions from the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States since the early years of this century. These measures, meant to achieve desired political objectives, targeted key persons in the Mugabe government following the chaotic land redistribution program and other perceived Human Rights abuses. Given the nature of the economy, the effects of these sanctions have had far fetched repurcussions on the lives of millions of ordinary people. Key companies that drove the economy closed down which affected production in the manufacturing, mining and agricultural sectors and it exacerbated the rate of unemployment which is now around 95% (National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations 2011). There are also trade restrictive measures which means that Zimbabwean companies find it difficult to import or export goods to and from some Western countries. These financial sanctions also encompass the imposition of embargoes, trade and financial restrictions and diplomatic isolation. Financial sanctions prevent financial flows such as aid, financial services thus reducing foreign exchange flows to Zimbabwe and access to loans. As a result, the Zimbabwean Dollar lost its value, the banking sector has almost collapsed and it is difficult for the general population to access their wages and savings. Furthermore, with capital flight due to the sanctions and without Balance of Payment support, Zimbabwe’s vulnerable groups have suffered as the country was on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. Net migration from Zimbabwe has also increased to 25% with almost 4 million people living in other countries since 2000. The adverse effect of sanctions  have been felt in all sectors, notably a deterioration (almost collapse) of health delivery services, educational services, local government activities and the development and maintenance of infrastructure has been at a standstill. Since the imposition of these embargoes have failed to achieve a more politically correct form of governance and with the resignation of President Mugabe and the inauguration of President Emmerson Mnangagwa following a constitutional military intervention supported by the people, it would be prudent to reverse the sanctions in favour of dialogue so as to resuscitate the economy and better the lives of the suffering people of Zimbabwe. Removing sanctions would encourage the Mnangagwa administration to promote broader freedom, civil rights, electoral reforms and to provide a clear map to free and fair elections in 2018. Zimbabwe has in the past had close ties with the United Kingdom, so it would be beneficial to both countries and mostly the people of Zimbabwe if cordial relations are resumed. The UK government, because of its position and influence amongst the group of nations, can make a great influence by taking the lead in removing the sanctions against Zimbabwe. I 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.



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