The European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe, Timo Olkkonen claims that the sanctions imposed on certain Zimbabwean individuals and entities are not hurting the ordinary people.
Olkkonen was addressing journalists and civil society activists at a MISA-Harare advocacy committee discussion in Harare on Tuesday. He said:
EU sanctions are highly legal instruments. They are drafted and agreed upon on the basis that they could be subject to legal scrutiny that gives the basis of how those entities and individuals are on that list.
… How they are conceived as a means of collective punishment, all instruments are about individuals and companies.
So that’s why I think it erodes the argument away from these politicians that sanctions are intended to harm our population and our country because of some ‘evil intention’ by the EU.
We don’t call them sanctions. We call them restrictive measures which indeed are a targeted set of measures against a number of individuals and then they could be measures against entities and arms embargo.
Now if you have that list in mind and then you think when people are claiming that your sanctions are killing people in the country and are hurting the economy.
That’s why Zimbabwe is not prospering and rising. I would challenge them (government) to bring evidence and explain how these very targeted and restrictive measures would have that influence.
The EU sanctions were imposed in 2003 for alleged electoral fraud and human rights abuses by the then President Robert Mugabe. They have been renewed every year ever since.