|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
The following statement was released
by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) today,
Once again, please distribute or print as you see fit, and direct any questions to this email address.
Appeal to the Zimbabwe Medical Association, the South African Medical Association, other national medical associations in Southern Africa and worldwide, Health and Human Rights organisations, and the World Medical Association
Operation Murambatsvina (sweep up the rubbish)
The tragic deaths of three people, including two children (a 4 year old and an 18 month old baby) during the forced destruction of dwellings at Porta Farm on the outskirts of Harare on the 30th June serves to confirm the ruthless nature of Operation Murambatsvina. To date at least eight deaths have been confirmed nationwide.
Porta Farm came into existence in
1991, when, in an operation similar to the current one, hundreds of poor urban
squatters were rounded up by police and dumped outside
In the intervening 14 years Porta Farm evolved into a stable community with clinics, primary and secondary schools, preschools and even an orphanage. This community was obliterated in the space of a day. In clear violation of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, hundreds of orphans and vulnerable children, together with the families caring for them, have joined the thousands already deprived of shelter, education and health care by Operation Murambatsvina. Seven hundred primary school pupils, 150 of whom were about to write their Grade 7 examination, and 183 secondary school students have been forced to abandon their education, in addition to an estimated 300,000 children similarly affected countrywide.
ZADHR’s particular concern for health leads us to emphasise the manifest and predictable effects of Murambatsvina in terms of
(1) the likelihood of further deaths due to arbitrary physical trauma, as incurred this week in Porta Farm, as a result of the thoughtless violence of the demolition methods,
(2) deaths due to exposure and hypothermia among already vulnerable children, chronically ill adults and the elderly, forced to live through nights in the open at the coldest time of the year,
(3) the spread of infectious disease due to the lack of proper sanitation or water supply for hundreds of thousands of people,
(4) the generation of ideal conditions for the spread of epidemic disease (eg cholera and typhoid) from those directly affected into the general population,
(5) the increase in incidence of malnutrition due to the breakdown of food supplies as family income generation methods are destroyed, in a context in which basic foodstuffs are already at a premium,
(6) the exacerbation of the HIV epidemic as community structures are fractured and dispersed and the vulnerability of women, adolescents and children to sexual exploitation is magnified,
(7) the inevitable emergence of widespread drug-resistant HIV as treatment programmes are disrupted.
Since the arrival in
The speciousness of the government claim is further evidenced by the total lack of preparedness of the key Ministries of Health, Social Welfare and Education to respond to the ensuing humanitarian and health crisis. It is clear that these ministries were not even consulted let alone involved in any planning process.
ZADHR calls upon the Zimbabwe Medical Association, the South African Medical Association and other regional medical associations to apply whatever influence they have, in whatever quarters, to seek an immediate end to Murambatsvina and the initiation of appropriate measures to reverse its catastrophic effects.