AWARE of sanctions

21 07 2011

While waiting for my printer cartridges to be recharged yesterday I picked up a brochure for AWARE (animal and wildlife area research and rehabilitation) which is a really worthwhile NGO/charity set up by Zimbabwe veterinarians committed to help saving Zimbabwe’s besieged wildlife. While browsing their site to see a bit more than was on the brochure I noticed that I could donate through PayPal, my pet hate on the internet. This is why: “Error 3028: You have accessed your account from a sanctioned country. Per international sanctions regulations, you are not authorized to access the PayPal system, For more information about your PayPal account status, contact complianceverification@paypal.com”.

It’s not the first time that I have tried donating to a worthwhile cause and fallen foul of PayPal’s adherence to “sanctions”. In Zimbabwe’s case the sanctions are supposed to be targeted on certain individuals who no doubt find it slightly inconvenient and certainly have the means to circumvent them. Pity the charities and others with no particular political affiliations who are hurt by the system; they certainly don’t have the means, otherwise they would not be advertising.

Now I am sure AWARE  is not looking to Zimbabweans in Zimbabwe for donations but as you can see by the error message, ANYONE trying to make a payment from a “sanctioned” country is blocked. I am sure  with a little bit of effort and thought a system to allow vetted (no pun intended) charities to receive donations through PayPal could be set up. It’s a pity that PayPal seems to have corned this particular market and I am not at all sure that they are actually required to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe (Amazon does not have an issue at all). I am told that there are ways around this that require use of a satellite link that shows the IP address to be other than in Zimbabwe but I could not be bothered to find a satellite link so I guess that PayPal has won this one. AWARE, of course, has lost.

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2 responses

23 07 2011
Big Blister

Thanks for the link to AWARE. Too bad the citizens incur the side effects of sanctions against the govt. Similarly, when the US put sanctions against Egypt etc, our farmers felt it because other countries like Australia stepped in and said ” we will sell you wheat even if the US won’t…”

14 08 2011
Soul Kabweza

A similar experience trying to target adverts on Facebook to people in Zimbabwe has resulted in me doing some research on the subject to find other US/Euro web companies blocking ordinary people living in Zimbabwe from transacting online.

Maybe if there’s more talk around this, we’l get them to realise who the policies are affecting most. Thanks for the information.

Didn’t know about AWARE before I read this. they’re doing great work!

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