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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare


On the 4th of March, 2021, the U.S. government was forced to remove its executive order sanctions on the government of Zimbabwe, local municipalities, parastatals, private companies and banks that provide critical services to 16 million civilians.

Among various factors that compelled the U.S. to remove sanctions, key, was the fact that in ZASM’s case against U.S. sanctions in South Africa exposed the sanctions as persecution of civilians (a crime against humanity) that our government was entitled to take to the International Court of Justice.

The fact that U.S. sanctions were violating human rights was supported by the US Congress Sub-committee on Human Rights, Health and Organization’s own impact assessment of U.S. sanctions on human rights and health that was done on Zimbabwe, from the 25 of March, 2021, by Karen Bass.

The impact assessment was prompted by a recorded meeting between a U.S. legal and counter terrorism advisor by the name of, Johanna Le Blanc, and Rutendo Matinyarare, Chairman of ZASM on April 18, 2021.

In this meeting, ZASM argued that US sanctions were violating 16 million civilian human rights, yet the U.S. was not conducting human rights impact assessments to remedy the impact of their illegal sanctions on civilians, as UN sanctions guidelines stipulate. And as a result, we informed her that we were lobbying our government and SADC to approach the ICJ to charge the U.S. for crimes against humanity.

Soon after, Johanna reported to Congress, warning them of this legal risk. In response, on the 25th of May, 2021 (a month later), Karan Bass wrote an email to POLAD, asking them to give them a report on the impact of sanctions on Zim civilians. POLAD in turn asked ZASM to assist with the report.

Congress then also conducted an impact assessment of U.S. sanctions on every African country under them. Zimbabwe’s fight was now benefiting the whole of Africa and it was the first time the U.S. government ever did an impact assessment of their sanctions on civilians.

Once the study was done, the Congressional committee issued a report saying that executive order sanctions on Zimbabwe were depriving civilians of their human rights and access to healthcare.

It also indicated that infant mortality had risen, more women were dying in labor due to lack of nurses and midwives, and many more were dying from curable diseases and injuries due to a lack of medication, emergency services, medicine and caregivers.

In September of the same year, the report was corroborated by the UN’s own report on the impact of U.S. sanctions on Zimbabwe.

With that, the sub-committee issued a report to the U.S. government, recommending that the U.S. remove sanctions that were persecuting civilians.

This is why when Hopewell hosted a discussion between myself and the EU and US ambassador on the 25th of October 2021, the U.S. Chargé d’Affairs, Thomas Hastings, intimated that the U.S. was looking at easing sanctions that affect civilians.

I then asked him why the U.S. was punishing politicians by sanctions based on mere allegations, without trial. To this he said he would consult their legal team to determine the legalities.

Hopewell then posted this discussion on You Tube but redacted 95% of the interaction between the US Chargé d’Affairs and myself.

Cutting a long story short, our campaign exposing US executive order sanctions as violations of civilian human rights, was key to pressuring the U.S. to remove these sanctions upon government, parastatals, private companies and civilians.

We also believe the US government is now imposing the #MagnitskySanctions to save face by making it seem like they are punishing human rights violators, yet they have never tried any of them to prove them human rights violators.

Soon, the U.S. will be forced to remove these sanctions too because they are punishment without trial and thus a contravention of the inalienable Universal Bill Of Rights.