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Risch, Coons Applaud Updating of Zimbabwe Sanctions List, Urge More Names to be Added

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Chris Coons (D-Del.), member of the Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy, today applauded the decision by the U.S. Department of the Treasury to update the list of sanctioned individuals for Zimbabwe following their January letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting an update.

"We are pleased to see the Departments of Treasury and State act on our request to update the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list (SDN list) for Zimbabwe,” said the senators. “The removal of persons no longer deemed appropriate and the addition of those responsible for recent human rights abuses is just one of the tools we will continue to encourage the U.S. government to use to hold leaders accountable for corruption and the erosion of democratic rights.

"As Zimbabwe's leaders continue to blame their deepening political and economic crises on the political opposition, peaceful protesters, and foreign governments, they are failing to take responsibility for the suffering of the Zimbabwean people, for which they alone are responsible. We applaud the United States’ decision last week to extend the Zimbabwe sanctions program for another year," they continued. "While today's announcement adds two new names to the SDN list – Owen Ncube and Anselem Sanyatwe – for human rights abuses, there remain several others who need to be held accountable for their actions and we urge the administration to update the list as needed."

Background: In 2003, the United States began to impose sanctions on select individuals in the ZANU-PF regime and entities known to facilitate human rights abuses, undermine the rule of law, and engage in the looting of state resources for personal or political gain. While the targeted sanctions have been in place, the U.S. has continued to invest in humanitarian and development aid for Zimbabwe, spending more than $2 billion over the last ten years. The government of Zimbabwe has used misinformation to blame U.S. sanctions for the country's political, economic and humanitarian situation.

In its first changes to the SDN list for Zimbabwe in the post-Mugabe era, the U.S. Treasury Department on March 11, 2020, removed four individuals, and added Anselem Sanyatwe and Owen Ncube.