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, sent a letter yesterday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo requesting that the U.S. Department of the Treasury update the list of sanctioned persons in Zimbabwe.
“While the United States has been the top provider of humanitarian and development aid to meet the needs of Zimbabwe’s people, the government of Zimbabwe has implemented a misinformation campaign blaming the country’s woes on targeted sanctions programs implemented by the United States,” said the senators. “It is important that the United States communicate to the people of Zimbabwe that our sanctions programs are aimed at deterring human rights abuses, public corruption, the undermining of democratic processes or institutions, and political repression in Zimbabwe. They are not aimed at the Zimbabwean people.
“Given the developments in Zimbabwe over the last two years, we urge you to consider enhancing the tools at your disposal, including the use of targeted sanctions, to incentivize changes in behavior by the Government of Zimbabwe,” they continued. “An update to the list of the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list should incorporate a balance of new designations with appropriate removals.”
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 10 years. The government of Zimbabwe has used misinformation to blame U.S. sanctions for the country’s political, economic and humanitarian situation.