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”.

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.