Gap Between Intent and Implementation in Workplace Safety Processes Persists, Sphera’s 2021 Safety Report Finds

Data from Sphera’s New Safety Report reveals that even though safety is part of the corporate culture, companies lack a well-defined roadmap to implement safety improvement measures.

CHICAGO, Oct. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — While most companies have embraced safety as part of their corporate culture, there are still hurdles to overcome to improve their process safety and personal safety performance, Sphera’s new Safety Report reveals.

Sphera®, a leading global provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services, surveyed nearly 350 risk, process safety and health and safety professionals. Results show that while 75% of the respondents said that safety is part of their organization’s corporate culture, only 40% said they have a well-defined safety performance roadmap in place.

Safety is the foundation of any strong organization and a key component of ESG. According to Sphera’s Safety Report, creating a safety culture is just as important as being compliant, which has impacted the prioritization of performance safety drivers. Respondents indicated that the top three key safety performance drivers are reducing operational and major accident hazard (MAH) risk exposure (60%), regulatory compliance (48%), and corporate and board priority (37%).

Employer awareness of the safety hazards facing their workforce has been heightened during the pandemic. Over a quarter (27%) of respondents indicated that the adoption of centralized Health and Safety processes is lagging.

For five years, Sphera produced the highly anticipated Process Safety Management/Operational Risk Management (PSM/ORM) report exploring industry trends in process safety and operational risk management. However, with the 2021 report Sphera has expanded the overall safety landscape to include health and safety as well. While the occupational safety and health sector has especially felt pressure, companies across all sectors have had to make constant structural adjustments to keep workers safe.

“The pandemic has highlighted just how quickly safety and risk management processes can be thrown off balance. Safety in all its aspects makes for a resilient and sustainable business model, especially in an era when ESG goals are of the utmost importance,” said Sphera CEO and President Paul Marushka. “An effective safety culture and efficient safety process helps ensure a healthy workforce and enhanced business performance. However, we are still seeing a gap in how companies link safety and business performance, which highlights a need for a more holistic approach through data, software and expertise.”

Additional insights:
This year’s survey shows 51% of respondents pointing to limited resources, 43% to conflicting priorities and 31% to limited budgets as the main obstacles to delivering planned safety-critical maintenance and inspections, which has remained consistent. These leading indicators of the underlying problems preventing organizations from achieving improved safety performance and fewer incidents tie back to the gap between safety intent and safety implementation.

The Sphera Safety Report shows that there is still work to be done implementing risk monitoring practices that address the full spectrum of risks across organizational silos. Additionally, a little over half (56%) of respondents indicated that they still track critical safeguards/barriers manually, such as loss of containment and structural integrity, and a mere 19% said that these safeguards are monitored in real time. This further highlights the stronger ties between process and worker safety that emerged during the pandemic and the need for organizations to have a holistic view of safety and risk management.

About the Safety Survey
Sphera surveyed 349 risk, process safety, and health and safety professionals from a cross-section of global industries from across the world evaluating their safety standards for the 2021 Safety Report. Respondents came from several global industries, such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Chemicals/Petrochemicals, Energy, Construction, Professional Services and Government.

About Sphera
Sphera is the leading provider of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance and risk management software, data and consulting services focusing on Environment, Health, Safety & Sustainability (EHS&S), Operational Risk Management and Product Stewardship. Learn more about Sphera at Follow Sphera on LinkedIn.

For media inquiries or to request a copy of the report, please contact:
Denise Jones, Marketing Communications Manager, Sphera,

SeeUnity’s Echo Content Synchronization Product Enhancements Expedite Data Updates with Webhooks Option for Microsoft 365 and Filevine Integrations

DENVER, Oct. 28, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — SeeUnity – An Anaqua Company, the leading provider of Application Programming Interface (API)-based content integration and migration solutions for on-premise and cloud-based Enterprise Content Management applications, today announces the release of a significant Echo Content Synchronization (Echo) product enhancement supporting events-driven synchronization via webhooks. This capability is less resource intensive and expedites the notification of content and metadata changes from cloud-based systems to another application, delivering real-time data updates to users.

Echo is a robust content synchronization engine that enables organizations to securely connect and sync data between a document management system and other external applications via API. Echo can sync content and content changes in one direction or bi-directionally on an ongoing and scheduled basis, allowing users to collaborate and access up-to-date content anywhere.

Using webhooks provides an alternative method for syncing data between applications. Webhooks deliver data over the web as changes (events) happen, versus relying on numerous API call requests for changes. API rate limits are often found with cloud-based systems, causing delays and bottlenecks. For customers that require frequent, numerous, and timely data updates, this means they’ll receive the information much faster and more efficiently utilizing webhooks.

“A full Echo API scan is still run periodically to catch events that may have been missed for normally occurring situations, such as internet glitches, downed systems, or database errors,” commented Dan Hunsinger, CTO at SeeUnity. “The combination of webhooks, with the full scan safety net, creates a solid, efficient, and reliable integration.”

Gene D’Aversa, Sr. Director of Knowledge Management & Technology Innovation, IT Department Husch Blackwell: “The adoption of cloud-based applications in the industry continues to rise, and with that comes its own set of intricacies for system integration and content synchronization. SeeUnity invests in the product enhancements and functionalities that meet market challenges and help support enterprise agility. Over the years, we’ve partnered with SeeUnity in an effort to continually modernize and streamline our IT ecosystem, providing our users with more efficient processes. The ROI impact of leveraging these integrations is significant, ultimately benefits our customers, and contributes to our success.”

The Echo webhook sync option for Microsoft 365 and Filevine is immediately available. The capability is being expanded to other cloud-based systems.

About SeeUnity – An Anaqua Company

SeeUnity has led the way in providing API-based enterprise content integration and migration solutions for legal tech and beyond since 2004. We’ve helped over 500 customers and 30 global partners streamline workflow processes, enable secure collaboration, and maintain Information Governance. Our 30+ connectors support most ECM, CRM, IPM, collaboration, and file sharing systems. Now an Anaqua company, SeeUnity has an even greater ability to accommodate expanding IT ecosystem connectivity needs. New connectors under development include: HR, Legal Matter Management, and finance systems. For a complete list of connectors or additional information, please visit, Twitter @SeeUnity or LinkedIn.

Press Contact
Jo Becker, Director of Marketing, SeeUnity | +1 970 776-8318

PDF available at:

Sanitation and Water for All at COP26

NEW YORK, Oct. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Sanitation and Water for All is a partner of the first-ever Water for Climate Pavilion at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26). The Pavilion, curated by 33 organizations, will highlight water’s critical role in transformative climate action and deliver cutting edge, science-based advice on mitigation and adaptation to climate decision-makers.

“90% of the problems caused by climate change are estimated to be water related, leading to droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events. We need decision-makers to prioritize the human rights above all other uses, and guarantee climate resilient water and sanitation strategies, plans, and budgets, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized.” said Catarina de Albuquerque, CEO of the UN-hosted Sanitation and Water for All partnership. “The first-ever Water Pavilion is an unprecedented opportunity to align climate and water policies so that human rights are realized, climate risks are reduced, and there is more money available for adaptation. Let us seize this opportunity to work together and to deliver on our commitments – for the benefit of all.”

At COP26 and other key events and spaces, SWA partners are calling on Governments to:

  • Improve the efficient use of water resources and prioritize their allocation among competing uses in a way that gives priority to the realization of human rights
  • Ensure that marginalized groups, including women and children, gain access to running water, soap, and toilets for their health and dignity, which is a key part of building climate resilience
  • Work together with corporations and international financial institutions to speed up investment in climate-resilient water infrastructure and services – especially for countries in vulnerable situations

Virtual events from the Water Pavilion include:

Climate finance to support adaptation of basic services and build community resilience: water, sanitation and hygiene 

Tuesday 2 November, 9:00am GMT. More information here.

Policy, accountability & monitoring for climate resilient water, sanitation & hygiene: moving from commitment to progress 

Saturday 6 November, 11:30am GMT. More information here.

List of other Water Pavilion events.

Logo –

Le Rapport sur la sécurité 2021 de Sphera révèle que l’écart entre l’intention et la mise en œuvre des processus de sécurité au travail persiste

Les données du nouveau Rapport sur la sécurité de Sphera révèlent que même si la sécurité fait partie de leur culture, les entreprises ne disposent pas d’une feuille de route bien définie pour mettre en œuvre des mesures d’amélioration de la sécurité.

CHICAGO, 27 oct. 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Alors que la plupart des entreprises ont intégré la sécurité à leur culture d’entreprise, il existe encore des obstacles à surmonter pour améliorer leurs performances en matière de sécurité des processus et de sécurité personnelle, selon le nouveau Rapport sur la sécurité de Sphera.

Sphera®, un fournisseur mondial de premier plan de services de conseil, de données et de logiciels de gestion des risques et des performances environnementales, sociales et de gouvernance (ESG), a interrogé près de 350 professionnels des risques, de la sécurité des processus et de la santé et la sécurité. Les résultats montrent que si 75 % des personnes interrogées ont déclaré que la sécurité fait partie de la culture de leur entreprise, seules 40 % ont indiqué avoir mis en place une feuille de route bien définie en matière de performance de la sécurité.

La sécurité est le fondement de toute organisation forte et un élément clé de l’ESG. Selon le Rapport sur la sécurité de Sphera, la création d’une culture de la sécurité est tout aussi importante que la conformité, ce qui a eu un impact sur la hiérarchisation des facteurs de performance en matière de sécurité. Les répondants ont indiqué que les trois  principaux facteurs de performance en matière de sécurité sont la réduction de l’exposition aux risques opérationnels et aux risques d’accidents majeurs (MAH) (60 %), la conformité réglementaire (48 %) et la priorité de l’entreprise et du conseil d’administration (37 %).

La sensibilisation des employeurs aux dangers pour la sécurité de leur personnel a été accrue pendant la pandémie. Plus d’un quart (27 %) des répondants ont indiqué que l’adoption de processus centralisés de santé et de sécurité était en retard.

Pendant cinq ans, Sphera a produit le très attendu rapport sur la gestion de la sécurité des processus/la gestion des risques opérationnels (PSM/ORM) explorant les tendances de l’industrie en matière de sécurité des processus et de gestion des risques opérationnels. Cependant, avec le rapport 2021, Sphera a étendu le paysage global de la sécurité pour inclure également la santé et la sécurité. Alors que le secteur de la sécurité et de la santé au travail a subi de fortes pressions, les entreprises de tous les secteurs ont dû procéder à des ajustements structurels constants pour assurer la sécurité des travailleurs.

« La pandémie a mis en évidence la rapidité avec laquelle les processus de gestion de la sécurité et des risques peuvent être déséquilibrés. La sécurité sous tous ses aspects crée un modèle commercial résilient et durable, en particulier à une époque où les objectifs en matière d’ESG sont de la plus haute importance », a déclaré Paul Marushka, PDG de Sphera.« Une culture de la sécurité et un processus de sécurité efficaces contribuent à assurer une main-d’œuvre en bonne santé et des performances commerciales améliorées. Cependant, nous constatons toujours une lacune dans la façon dont les entreprises associent la sécurité et les performances commerciales, ce qui met en évidence la nécessité d’une approche plus holistique par le biais des données, des logiciels et de l’expertise. »

Informations supplémentaires :
L’enquête de cette année montre que 51 % des personnes interrogées signalent des ressources limitées, 43 % des priorités contradictoires et 31 % des budgets limités comme principaux obstacles à la fourniture de la maintenance et des inspections critiques prévues pour la sécurité, un résultat constant. Ces principaux indicateurs des problèmes sous-jacents empêchant les organisations d’améliorer leurs performances en matière de sécurité et de réduire le nombre d’incidents sont liés à l’écart entre l’intention de sécurité et sa mise en œuvre.

Le Rapport sur la sécurité de Sphera montre qu’il reste encore du travail à faire pour mettre en œuvre des pratiques de surveillance des risques qui maîtrisent l’ensemble des risques dans les silos organisationnels. En outre, un peu plus de la moitié (56 %) des répondants ont indiqué qu’ils continuent à suivre manuellement les garanties/obstacles critiques, tels que la perte du confinement et de l’intégrité structurelle, et 19 % seulement ont déclaré que ces garanties étaient surveillées en temps réel. Cela souligne davantage l’accent de plus en plus placé sur la gestion de la santé et de la sécurité (HSM) qui a émergé pendant la pandémie et la nécessité pour les organisations d’avoir une vision globale de la gestion de la sécurité et des risques.

À propos de l’enquête sur la sécurité
Sphera a interrogé 349 professionnels des risques, de la sécurité des processus, de la santé et de la sécurité issus d’une section transversale des industries du monde entier en vue d’évaluer leurs normes en matière de sécurité pour établir le Rapport sur la sécurité 2021. Les répondants provenaient de plusieurs industries mondiales, telles que la fabrication, le pétrole et le gaz, les produits chimiques/pétrochimiques, l’énergie, la construction, les services professionnels et le gouvernement.

À propos de Sphera
Sphera est un fournisseur mondial de premier plan de services de conseil, de données et de logiciels de gestion des risques et des performances environnementales, sociales et de gouvernance (ESG) mettant un accent tout particulier sur l’environnement, la santé, la sécurité et la durabilité (EHS&S), la gestion des risques opérationnels et la gestion des produits. Pour en savoir plus sur Sphera, rendez-vous sur Suivez Sphera sur LinkedIn.

Pour toute demande d’ordre médiatique ou pour demander une copie du rapport, veuillez contacter :
Denise Jones, responsable des communications marketing chez Sphera,

Launch of Seegene’s STARlet-AIOS: All-in-One System Fulfills Critical Need for Fully Automated, High-Throughput Real-Time PCR Testing

  • A true walk away ‘sample to answer’ molecular diagnostic system designed for high throughput testing, offering a time-efficient and seamless workflow for clinical laboratories
  • Utilizes Seegene’s patented, cutting-edge high multiplex real-time PCR technologies to provide ‘Real’ Ct values of individual pathogens in a single channel.
  • Incorporates Seegene’s broad menu of molecular diagnostics for syndromic testing, for detection of SARS-CoV-2 and variants.

SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 28, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — South Korea’s leading molecular diagnostics (MDx) developer Seegene Inc., (KQ 096530) is addressing the needs of small, mid-sized, and large hospitals and COVID-19 laboratories with its fully automated STARlet-AIOS: All-in-One System (AIOS). First unveiled at the 2021 AACC Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo in Atlanta, the modular system supports a “hands-free” PCR workflow, automating everything from nucleic acid extraction to the interpretation of results. This can help sites boost their testing capacity while lessening the burden on laboratory and hospital staff.


“Seegene has played a critical role in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in large part because of our forward-looking strategy. We moved fast from day one, rapidly developing a reliable assay for the novel coronavirus and then pivoting to multiplexed tests that can detect emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants,” said Dr. Jong-Yoon Chun, Seegene Founder and CEO. “As we look ahead, the most pressing diagnostic need will be for cost-effective and high throughput automated systems that can remove any remaining testing bottlenecks. Our all-in-one system specifically addresses that need for hospitals and laboratories of all sizes.”

More than 3.75 billion people worldwide have now received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As daily case counts and fatalities decline, many countries are easing their restrictions and preparing to live with the virus. Doing so safely will require ongoing surveillance, with accurate PCR testing and rapid turnaround times.

The modular design of STARlet-AIOS: All-in-One System unites two standalone instruments––the STARlet IVD and the CFX96™ Dx real-time PCR System––with a custom-built robotic arm. This unique engineering allows customers to either purchase the full AIOS system or integrate existing Seegene instruments already in use. With its compact and intuitive design, the AIOS is accessible to small-to-medium sized hospitals and clinics, along with larger organizations.

Seegene’s current portfolio with an extensive test menu including GI, HPV, STI, respiratory assays as well as a suite of SARS-CoV-2 assays detecting a wide range of variants (namely, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, kappa, Lambda, Mu, etc.) can all be processed using the AIOS. The system will also be compatible with newly developed assays and Seegene’s MOBILE STATION, an innovative laboratory-on-wheels initiative that delivers mass testing capacity to communities that would otherwise lack the necessary infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the company plans to introduce Allplex™ Respiratory Virus Master Assay, in late 2021, a single tube syndromic assay that can differentiate between COVID-19 and other major common respiratory pathogens, such as influenza, RSV, adenovirus, parainfluenza, metapneumovirus, human rhinovirus. The introduction of the new assay will help doctors treat cases more effectively, by differentiating causative pathogens of COVID-19 and respiratory viruses for common flu, which may surge in winter season.

Logo –

South Africa to give free access to national parks in November after postponement due to COVID-19

The managing body of South African National Parks (SANParks) announced that annual National Parks Week will be held on Nov 22-28 to give citizens free access to most of its parks.

SANParks traditionally hosted the week-long event in September to cultivate a sense of pride in South Africa’s natural, cultural and historical heritage and a deeper appreciation of biodiversity. It announced postponement in September due to concerns over COVID-19.

South Africa has 19 national parks. Since the free access week started in 2006, over 591,000 South Africans have been afforded the opportunity to enter national parks, according to SANParks.

South Africa on Wednesday reported 472 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the national tally to 2,920,581.

Source: Nam New Network

We must prioritize response to COVID-19, reaffirm focus on sustainable development, Deputy Secretary-General tells Security Council

Following are Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, to the Security Council’s virtual high-level debate on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations — African Union:

The Secretary-General regrettably could not join you today and he therefore asked me to convey his regards and to provide this briefing on his behalf.

Let me begin by congratulating Your Excellency, President Uhuru Kenyatta, as Kenya concludes a prolific month as President of the Security Council. I also salute Donald Kaberuka, African Union High Representative for Financing of the Union and the African Union Peace Fund, who joins us today.

And thank you to the members of the Security Council for helping us shine a spotlight on the vital importance of peace and security in Africa. And how the United Nations — and all Member States — can join forces with the African Union and other regional and subregional groups to achieve this vision.

This discussion takes place in the context of a number of worrying trends across the continent. COVID-19 has created additional socioeconomic burdens on countries’ efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.

In too many places, we are seeing a rise in seizures of power by force. Earlier this week, a military coup d’état took place in Sudan, posing a major threat to the political transition taking place since the signing of the Constitutional Declaration in August 2019.

The conflict in northern Ethiopia continues unabated, despite appeals by the African Union and the United Nations for a permanent ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access to the Tigray region.

In the Sahel, and throughout the Lake Chad Basin region, we face persistent threats of terrorism and violent extremism from groups affiliated to Al-Qaida, Da’esh and Boko Haram. And we’re seeing a proliferation of militias.

And across Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty, inequalities and all the drivers of conflict. It has undercut the provision of public services, disrupted supply chains, slowed economic activity, and hampered peace agreements and conflict resolution.

Despite these worrisome developments, the people of Africa are determined to work relentlessly for a more prosperous, sustainable and peaceful continent. One based on shared values and the universal principles of human rights.

The Secretary-General’s annual report on the partnership between the United Nations and the African Union contains a number of hopeful developments. This includes a peaceful and inclusive election in Burkina Faso. And peaceful transfers of power in Niger and Zambia following presidential elections.

Throughout, we’re seeing growing cooperation between the United Nations, the African Union, and subregional organizations on sustainable development, elections and peace processes. In Libya, for example, the United Nations is working closely with the African Union, the League of Arab States, and the European Union to support the ceasefire agreement and preparations for the upcoming elections.

The African Union has played a particularly active role in the International Follow-Up Committee on Libya of the Berlin process, including as a co-chair of the Security Working Group. I also welcome the African Union’s efforts to lead international support for the Libyan reconciliation process. The United Nations stands ready to work with the African Union in support of Libyan authorities and support a rights-based reconciliation process.

We’re also working closely with the African Union and subregional organizations to support the countries of the Sahel and beyond, including to address the return of mercenaries and foreign fighters to their countries of origin. And we’re committed to continuing our support for the African Union-led negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.

The United Nations special political missions, peacekeeping missions, and country teams in Africa continue to provide comprehensive support to other peace initiatives and political transitions — including in Cameroon, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

We work closely with the African Union on regular joint consultations and analyses through our cooperation frameworks for peace and security, humanitarian aid and for sustainable development — our blueprint for joint integrated action. The United Nations Office to the African Union is playing a key role in that regard.

And once the ongoing discussions on the division of responsibilities between the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities/Regional Mechanisms are concluded, the United Nations looks forward to continue harnessing the opportunities and strengths of each organization, and build effective conflict prevention and resolution strategies as the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change continues to affect the continent, particularly women and youth.

While our partnership with the African Union and subregional organizations is a necessary condition for peace, security, humanitarian, development, and justice in Africa, we also recognize that all Member States need to support these efforts.

In the Secretary-General’s report on Our Common Agenda, he underlined the need to re-embrace global solidarity to find new ways to work together for the common good of all people in every country, grounded in human rights and through a stronger, more networked and inclusive multilateral system. In this context, I would like to add three urgent actions that require global solidarity and support.

First, we need to prioritize our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa through accelerated vaccine distribution, strengthening national health systems and much needed investments in preparedness. Today, only about 5 per cent of the population in Africa is fully vaccinated against COVID-19. We urgently require universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, support for domestic manufacturing of vaccines, and financing to alleviate the socioeconomic challenges caused by the pandemic.

Second, we need to reaffirm our focus on sustainable development, with Agenda 2030 and 2063 at the heart of our common efforts. Ultimately, sustainable and inclusive development is our best chance to address the root causes of conflict and achieve a future of peace and prosperity for all.

Despite the pandemic, African countries have shown remarkable resilience. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates, economic growth will expand at 3.4 per cent in 2021, but African countries are in urgent need of liquidity and debt relief to create jobs, expand social protection and reverse poverty trends. Recovery must be grounded in advancing just transitions in key areas such as energy, food systems, digital connectivity and infrastructure. Urgent action is needed to speed up the re-channelling of special drawing rights (SDRs) and increase fiscal space.

Spurring these transitions and implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area — a major achievement for the region — will facilitate trade, help reduce emissions, support those who are shifting from the brown economy and create new jobs geared to the economy of tomorrow for Africa’s burgeoning youth population. It could also boost the region’s combined GDP by $44 billion and create millions of jobs. In addition, digital transformation offers the potential to considerably accelerate trade, job creation and access to services.

And as we look to a sustainable and green recovery out of COVID-19 and to meet the promises of the 2030 Agenda, we should redouble our commitment to strengthening our institutions to respond to the needs of all people — especially women, youth, and minorities. One powerful litmus test will be ensuring the full representation of women as countries make the journey to peace and stability.

And third, we need to continue securing adequate, predictable, and sustainable resources that will bring to life development, peace and security mandates across Africa. Here, I would like to highlight the centrality of ensuring coherent action across peace, development and humanitarian objectives in the continent — in establishing a common vision, in ensuring complementarity and safeguarding of investments.

The African Union Peace Fund is an inspiring example. I call on the members of this Council to work with the African Union’s Peace and Security Council to strengthen financing mechanisms for African Union-led peace support operations authorized by the Security Council.

In the Sahel, the United Nations stands ready to, jointly with the African Union, convene an international forum with the G5 Sahel States and their partners to bolster peace and development efforts across the Sahel in support of the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel.

Under the guidance of Member States, we will spare no effort to make our partnerships more effective to help all Africans build a more inclusive, prosperous, integrated and peaceful continent, as envisaged in Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: United Nations

UN Rapporteur Calls for Lifting of Zimbabwe Sanctions


A U.N. special rapporteur has called on the U.S. and other Western governments to lift sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe nearly two decades ago for alleged election rigging and human rights abuses.

Alena Douhan says the sanctions are exacerbating corruption in Zimbabwe as banks, companies and individuals banned from trading abroad simply bribe others to conduct their business for them.

“I call on all countries which imposed sanctions as well as banks and companies of third states as well as countries where these banks are registered, to behave in accordance with the rule of law, due diligence, principal, lift sanctions, make legislation which corresponds with international law and principals of human rights protection. And the last point is that all the discrepancies which exist between all parties, between states, between the government and some sort of opposition leaders and any other institutions shall be settled on the basis of structural dialogue,” Douhan said.

The European Union imposed travel and financial sanction on allies of then-Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe in 2002, in response to alleged election rigging and human rights abuses by his party and government. The U.S. followed suit with sanctions in 2003.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government says the sanctions must be lifted, arguing they are derailing the country’s efforts to climb out of a long economic slump.

Earlier this week in separate statements, the United States, Britain, and the European Union said Zimbabwe’s economy was suffering not because of sanctions, but because of corruption and government mismanagement of the country’s resources.

Pride Mkono, an opposition activist, does not agree with Douhan’s preliminary findings on the sanctions issue.

“There isn’t much which makes sense in her findings which we can talk about, it was all nonsense,” Mkono said. “I am however happy to know that she encouraged dialogue between the Zanu-PF government and important stakeholders such as the opposition, churches and civic society so that they discuss issues of electoral and political reforms, as well as corruption.”

To Mkono, she said, that’s all that’s important; the rest is nothing as there is nothing she can tell Western countries to remove sanctions against Zimbabwe since they were imposed following human rights violations.

“So we do not expect the sanctions to be lifted before the issues (of human rights) are addressed.”

Douhan, who has been in Zimbabwe for two weeks, will present her full report to the Human Rights Council in September of next year. On Thursday, the Belarusian national declined to say if Zimbabwe had addressed the issues of human rights and election rigging that triggered the sanctions.

Source: Voice of America