Suspend Zimbabwe Sanctions:UN Rights Chief Pillay

“I would urge those countries that are currently applying sanctions on Zimbabwe to suspend them, at least until the conduct of the elections and related reforms are clear,” she said after a five day visit to Zimbabwe.

Pillay told Mugabe that violence must end to clear a way for fresh elections after disputed elections in 2008 when deadly violence by mostly Zanu (PF) supporters and security officials allegedly led to the killing of over 300 MDC supporters from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party.

Pillay said elections cannot be held this year in the country as polarisation was still affecting the country even three years after the formation of a government of national unity. She said any election this year would be ‘catastrophic’ for the country.

“Unless the parties agree quickly on some key major reforms and there is a distinct shift attitude, the next election which is due sometime in the coming year could turn into a repeat of the 2008 elections which resulted in rampant politically motivated human rights abuses, including killings, torture, rapes, beatings, arbitrary detention, displacements and other violations,” she said.

“On a more positive note, several people told me they believe that if the country can get through the next 18 months or so without another political and human rights disaster, then it could finally turn the corner towards renewed stability and prosperity.”

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who held a press conference after Pillay said sanctions against Zimbabwe and individuals must be removed in their entirety.

“We want sanctions to be lifted unconditionally. We do not want any talk about suspension of sanctions, they have to be lifted unconditionally because in the first instance they are illegal,” he said.

“Any suspension will be taken in bad faith on our part because these sanctions should never have been imposed in the first place.”