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  • Writer's picturerutendo matinyarare



South Africa has taken continental leadership by taking Israel to the International Court of Justice (the UN court) for the genocide occurring in Palestine where over 22 000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in indiscriminate bombings since October 27, 2023.

However, what is difficult to understand is why Zimbabweans have failed to go to the same court (the ICJ) after over 1 million civilians have been killed by illegal sanctions imposed on the country by the U.S., EU, UK, Canada and Australia since 2001.

We as ZASM (Zimbabwe Anti Sanctions Movement) have been advocating for the Zimbabwean government to approach the ICJ for:

1 Over 2500 women (467/100,000 births) who die giving birth in Zimbabwe every year, totaling over 57,000 maternal deaths in 23 years due to a lack of midwives, nurses, medication, health facilities, and medical equipment caused by illegal sanctions. This number is eight times higher, or it is 47 319 more deaths over 23 year of Zimbabwean sanctions, than the AU target of less than 80 maternal deaths per 100,000 births.

2. On average, 26,658 children per year who die in Zimbabwe prematurely before the age of 5 year since illegal sanctions were imposed in 2001. This amounts to 613,136 deaths over 23 years due to compromised healthcare, malnutrition and poverty caused by illegal sanctions.

This means 152 978 more children have died in Zimbabwe from illegal sanctions since the child mortality rate rose from 38 deaths/1000 births in 1999 before sanctions to 49 deaths/1000 births in 2023 after peaking at 81 deaths/1000 in 2008 when sanctions were at their worst.

3. Over 4500 deaths from cholera in Zimbabwe over 23 years due to a lack of clean water caused by a lack of funds in municipalities to buy water cleaning chemicals and to get loans to upgrade water infrastructure and develop water manufacturing plants.

For example, in 2014, IDC South Africa denied Chemplex Corporation a $20 million loan to build a factory to manufacture chemicals for water purification due to sanctions restrictions.

4. Over 762 preventable traffic accident deaths/year (like Dr. Nembaware) experienced due to a lack of adequate emergency services, ambulances, emergency medical equipment; a lack of medication and inadequate healthcare staff caused by illegal sanctions. This equates to 17 526 preventable traffic accident deaths in 23 years due to illegal western sanctions on Zimbabwe.

5. Of the average 136 131 deaths per year in Zimbabwe, which is 3.1 million deaths over the past 23 years, 33% or 1 million deaths attributable to poor healthcare, a lack of emergency services, in excess of 60% medical staff shortages, a lack of access to clean water, inadequate sanitation, bad roads, and poverty due to the impact of illegal sanctions.

6. Additionally, over 3 million Zimbabweans displaced into being refugees by these illegal sanctions after the formal economy of Zimbabwe, its healthcare, education and social environment were decimated by illegal sanctions.

The deaths mentioned above are due to intentional and systematic elimination/killing of a part of the Zimbabwean population by persecution of civilians by illegal western sanctions that block payments and loans for the purchase of medical equipment, medicines, medical machinery, medical equipment, chemicals and machinery to clean water, industrial machinery to develop and manufacturer these chemicals or industry to create jobs. This in turn reduces government taxes to build medical facilities, build roads, provide sanitation and clean water to Zimbabweans.

By definition, this is genocide by persecution and in fact, Zimbabwe has lost more lives to this hidden genocide over than past 23 years than those lost to Israeli genocide in Palestine over same the period.

Why have Zimbabweans failed to charge the US government for genocide in Zimbabwe?

Written by Rutendo Matinyarare, Chairman of ZASM.