Zimbabwean anti-sanctions group seeks reparations from U.S.

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By Xinhua

HARARE: The Broad Alliance Against Sanctions (BAAS), Zimbabwe’s anti-sanctions lobby group, on Monday, filed a court application at the High Court in the national capital of Harare, seeking reparations from the United States for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe more than two decades ago.

“We are also filing for reparations for the losses that the country has experienced for the past 23 years that we have been under these illegal sanctions,” Sally Ngoni, BAAS co-founder and spokesperson, told the press after the filing.

She, however, did not mention the amount of reparations, as consultations are still being made. “We haven’t really come up with the amount. We are still waiting for a response from the Ministry of Finance, and once we get it, we are going to annex it to our application.”

The BAAS, which has been camped at the main entrance of the U.S. embassy compound in Harare since March 2019 in protest of the sanctions, is also seeking a response from the embassy on why the sanctions are still maintained.

“We have written to them several times, and we have even met with the U.S. ambassador trying to engage them on the issue of sanctions, but they have not responded to us in written form,” said Ngoni. “So we are requesting them to respond to us in written form as to why they haven’t removed the sanctions which were declared illegal and unjustified by the UN rapporteur in her report.”

Alena Douhan, the United Nations special rapporteur on the negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights, visited Zimbabwe on Oct. 18-28, 2021 to examine the impact of the unilateral sanctions on the country.

In her report, she noted that sanctions, including secondary sanctions, and over-compliance by foreign banks and companies have had a significant negative impact on the people and the government of Zimbabwe, thus exacerbating preexisting economic and humanitarian challenges.

Douhan further recommended the lifting of unilateral sanctions in line with the principles of international law.

The United States imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium over differences with the country on its land reform program that aimed at addressing colonial land distribution imbalances.

While the United States said the sanctions are targeted at a few individuals, the Zimbabwean government said their impact is being felt throughout the whole economy, with ordinary citizens bearing the brunt.