Save Lives in Zimbabwe (NY Times LTE)

Physicians for Human Rights Senior Investigator, Richard Sollom, published a letter in Friday's New York Times, in response to the Times editorial, Villains and Victims in Zimbabwe.

"Villains and Victims in Zimbabwe" (editorial, March 30) rightly calls on the United States and Europe to provide the fledgling unity government in Zimbabwe with increased financial resources.

Western governments should maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe's small band of villains who continue to keep the citizens of this once-prosperous country in poverty.

But these targeted sanctions must be balanced with targeted support, because Zimbabwe's health system has collapsed and millions are at risk of dying because of starvation, disease and uncontrolled epidemics.

The political situation remains precarious, but it is clear that there must be some kind of intervention to save lives. The government cannot do it without international support. While donor governments wait for a return to rule of law and respect for human rights before resuming direct development aid, more than 4,000 Zimbabweans die each week. Innocent civilians should not be caught in such politicized limbo.

The United States and Europe should provide targeted humanitarian assistance to the health sector for this struggling country in transition.

Get Updates from PHR