New US visa restrictions on Zimbabwe, who is affected?

New US visa restrictions on Zimbabwe, who is affected?

The United States has imposed new visa restrictions on Zimbabweans allegedly undermining democracy in the country but ironically states that these restrictions at not targeted at Zimbabwean people but at unnamed specific individuals.

The new restrictions are couched in the same language used in the imposition of sanctions on Zimbabwe and were announced by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken yesterday.

Below is his full statement:

I am announcing today a new visa restriction policy for undermining democracy in Zimbabwe. Under this policy, the United States will pursue visa restrictions, pursuant to Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, for individuals believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining democracy in Zimbabwe. Such acts may include:

  1. manipulating or rigging the electoral process; 
  2. disenfranchising voters or preventing individuals from exercising their right to vote; 
  3. excluding members of the political opposition from electoral processes; 
  4. restricting the ability of civil society organizations (CSOs) to operate and engage in democratic, governance, or human rights related activities; or
  5.  intimidation of voters, election observers, or CSOs through threats or acts of physical violence. 

They may also include: 

  • engaging in corrupt acts, including bribery, that undermine the electoral process; 
  • interfering with the independent operation of the judiciary during its adjudication of electoral cases; or 
  • abusing or violating human rights in Zimbabwe. 

Family members of such persons may also be subject to these restrictions. 

Anyone who undermines the democratic process in Zimbabwe—including in the lead-up to, during, and following Zimbabwe’s August 2023 elections—may be found ineligible for U.S. visas under this policy.

The visa restriction policy will apply to specific individuals involved in these acts, and is not directed at the Zimbabwean people. 

The United States supports Zimbabweans’ aspirations to have free and fair elections that reflect the will of the people and strengthen democracy, the rule of law, and the protection of human rights.




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