The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Telegraph


Why is Blair silent about the brutal Mugabe?

Sir - Many of us try hard to think of a solution to the ever worsening
situation in Zimbabwe (News, June 24) and feel sorry that the major players
on the world stage do not appear to be doing the same. It is difficult for
me to understand the reasons for this.

One assumes that Messrs Bush and Blair are not over-impressed with that
country's strategic importance and that the G8 and European Union follow
that view. If these powerful groups cannot apply pressure on the UN, then
surely it is up to the African governments and particularly South Africa.
All we hear from Africa, soon hopefully to benefit from Mr Geldof's vigour,
is an eerie silence. Their leaders not only refuse to condemn; they refuse
to comment.

Their reasons are obscure to me, so I have to think of possible reasons:
they are content with the murder, torture, starvation, corruption and
economic destruction. They are happy that Mugabe's opponents are brutalised,
made homeless and killed.

Even in a horrific situation like this, they are against any UN intervention
in internal politics. If this is the case why do so many not say so? They
are fearful that an intervention in Zimbabwe could be a watershed and future
interventionism elsewhere in Africa may expose situations in their own
countries that would be unpalatable to western tastes.

John Smith, High Wycombe, Bucks

Sir - Could someone please explain to me why the latest crisis in Zimbabwe
is being permitted to run its course? Mr Blair's Government appears to
delight in committing the British Army to conflicts, such as Bosnia, in
which the United Kingdom has little, if any, historical involvement. In
contrast, having seen the preceding government completely ignoring the terms
of the Lancaster House agreement guaranteeing the rights of the European
populace of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, Mr Blair has traditionally done the same to
the black inhabitants. Now, we see even the most basic of human rights of
the population of that beleaguered country being further surrendered,
culminating with the deaths of two children in Mugabe's latest exploits.

Come on, Mr Blair, earn yourself some kudos by doing the proper thing and
sending in the Forces to oust this tyrant. Or, could it be that you're
afraid of upsetting some non-existent "popular opinion" by involvement in
the affairs of a black African country?

Adrian Rodford, Thetford, Norfolk

Sir - Zimbabweans have christened their government's blitzkrieg against its
population their "tsunami" (Letters, June 24). More than 40,000 working
people have been arrested, and up to a million made homeless and utterly
destitute in the past three weeks. Yet there is no aid from the world for

Barry McCartney, Sudbury, Suffolk
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The Times

            Cabinet revolt over Mugabe refugees
            By Daniel McGrory and Richard Ford

            CHARLES CLARKE faces a Cabinet revolt over his refusal to halt
forced deportations of asylum-seekers to Zimbabwe.
            While Jack Straw and other ministers condemn President Mugabe's
violent crackdown, the Home Secretary is insisting that it is safe to send
Zimbabwean dissidents back home.

            Mr Clarke agreed last night to suspend the expulsion of Crespen
Kulingi, a leading opposition figure who was due to be deported today. The
decision indicates that pressure is mounting on the Home Office to stop the

            Hunger strikes by Zimbabwean asylum-seekers spread to more
detention centres in Britain yesterday as Whitehall officials hinted at a
review of the deportation policy next week.

            A senior Foreign Office and Commonwealth source said: "The
deportations are down to the Home Office and they must explain why they
think it is a safe place to send anyone who has defied Mugabe".

            The National Coalition of Anti-Deportation Campaigns said that
100 Zimbabweans are on hunger strike but the Home Office put the figure at

            The Zimbabwe Community Association (ZCA) told The Times that
scores of failed asylum-seekers recently removed from Britain had been
detained by Mr Mugabe's secret police as soon as they arrived back in the
country. Their families said that they had heard nothing from them.

            Opposition leaders in Harare urged Britain to suspend the
deportations as armed police demolished more homes in Zimbabwe's major

            Trudy Stevenson, an oppostion MP in Harare, said: "The British
Government knows full well it isn't safe to send anyone back here."

            The United Nations says that more than 270,000 people have been
made homeless in the so-called clean-up and is sending a special
investigator to Harare. Mr Mugabe congratulated his police force yesterday
for the operation, in which at least three children have been killed.

            Refugee groups say that the Home Office is more concerned at
meeting quotas to expel failed asylum-seekers than with investigating the
fate of those who are expelled.

            The plight of Mr Kulingi, an election organiser with the main
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposition party, was first revealed by
The Times this week.

            Suzanne O'Connell, his lawyer, said that immigation officials
will review appeals from a number of MPs but added: "I don't think this will
be a very long reprieve. He is not being allowed to stay. This is still a
question of when they will bundle him on to a plane".

            Morgan Tsvangarai, the MDC leader, sent a taped message saying
that his close aide would be tortured if he is returned, but the Home Office
said that it had lost the cassette.

            Mr Kulingi told The Times from the Campsfield House detention
centre in Oxford last night that he was "relieved and happy" at the
deferral, but is continuing his hunger strike in protest at plans to deport

            The ZCA criticised Britain's decision to send failed
asylum-seekers to Malawi, where they allege that Mr Mugabe's security agents
operate. A spokesman outlined the case of Courage, a 32-year-old father of
two, who was deported to Malawi last month, then picked up by agents of the
Central Intelligence Organisation. Nothing has been heard of him since.

            Tom McNulty, the Home Office Minister, said last night: "We
categorically condemn human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and are committed to
providing protection to those Zimbabweans in genuine fear of persecution.
Since returns were resumed to Zimbabwe last November we have received no
substantiated reports of abuse."

            But the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, compared Mr Mugabe
to the Cambodian dictator, Pol Pot. "There's a peasantification drive here,
something like Pol Pot did," he told Channel 4 News. "They are going against
the MDC which won the elections in the towns. These people are being forced
to go to the country but there was a drought this year and there isn't
enough food."

            The Government ended a two-year ban on enforced removals last
November after ministers argued that it was being abused by Zimbabweans.
More than 15,000 sought sanctuary in the four years to 2004.

            Officials say that if forced removals were suspended it could
trigger a new wave of asylum applications from Zimbabwe.

            Mr Mugabe's aides accused Britain last night of training
asylum-seekers as spies and pretending to deport them.

            British diplomats in Africa are understood to have lobbied
Whitehall to suspend the deportations before the G8 summit next month.

            It appeared last night that Mr Straw was getting little support
for a call for Africa's leaders to deal with the Mugabe regime. José Manuel
Barroso, the European Commission President, said before talks with President
Mbeki of South Africa that Europe must not give lessons to African
governments on how to deal with Zimbabwe.

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The Scotsman

Calls for arrest of Mugabe over brutal clear-out


CAMPAIGNERS yesterday called for the arrest of Zimbabwean president Robert
Mugabe as more details emerged of his brutal campaign of resettlement which
has left up to half a million people homeless.

Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawuyo, compared Mr Mugabe to Cambodian
dictator Pol Pot and accused him of driving more than one and a half million
people into the Zimbabwean countryside, where they face "starvation and

He said: "I am so angry about this that I am prepared to stand in front of a
gun. He should be arrested and tried for his crimes."

More than 200 international human rights groups combined to condemn Mugabe's
Drive Out Trash campaign to clear illegal settlements, which has left
thousands of families destitute.

Video footage smuggled out of Zimbabwe showed bewildered families sleeping
in the open after police torched and bulldozed their shanty town homes.
Street markets were also targeted, their stalls left in ruins.

But the African Union rallied to Mr Mugabe, saying it would not intervene.
"I do not think it is proper for the AU Commission to start running the
internal affairs of members states," said Desmond Orjiako, a spokesman for
the 53-member union.
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Zimbabwe Action - Hyde Park

Hi Everyone

After three frustrating days, I've finally managed to speak to someone from
the Royal Parks Agency.  I explained to them that a group of Zimbabweans and
fellow supports have planned a peaceful gathering in Hyde Park for 2 July
2005 from 10am to 10pm and that we would like clearance from them.  They
asked if I realised that this was the same day as the Live8 concert, to
which I replied "Yes I do, hence the reason we are holding this gathering".

I was told that they do not have the resources to allow another event to
take place in the park.  I explained that this is not an event, but a
peaceful gathering.  After much begging, pleading and grovelling, I was
basically told "Go to the park, do what you have to do but be aware that you
may be moved on by the police".  The woman I spoke to then added "you know
what I mean don't you" as if to say we have been given the nod unofficially!

This is the best that I can do everyone so here's the plan:

We'll meet at Zimbabwe House (The Strand, London) at 0930hrs on Saturday 2
July 2005 and then walk to Hyde Park at 10am.  I will find a spot in Hyde
Park that we can then congregate.  Whoever cannot make it to Zimbabwe House
for 0930hrs, please call me on my mobile (07818811715) and I'll tell you
where we ar in the park.  The more people, the better!

I've been in touch with the BBC and received one of the correspondents
e-mail addresses (Kathleen, thank you for this contact!).  I will send you
all a flyer by the end of play today - please send this on to as many people
as you can.  I will also send the flyer to the BBC who will then hopefully
run a story and be there on 2 July 2005.

I'll be in touch.

Best regards

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Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2005 2:36 AM
Subject: Prayers for the suffering - Sunday 26 June

This Sunday 26 June the Catholic Church is calling all its churches to pray
for the nation and to reflect on its Pastoral Letter, the Cry of the Poor,
about Operation Murambatsvina.

I would like all Christians of whatever denomination to make a special point
of attending church this weekend to pray for the victims of this ungodly
operation, and to find ways of assisting those who are suffering through no
fault of their own.

Statistics to hand indicate that as a result of this "operation" over
300,000 children have stopped attending school, at least 64,000 families
(330,000 people) have been made homeless, and that between 1 million and 1,5
million people have been affected altogether, including having their
livelihoods destroyed and their merchandise confiscated by the police.

This is a massive man-made tsunami which is still sweeping through our land.
Let each one of us do everything in our own power, however little that might
be, to persuade the regime to stop this evil immediately and to look instead
to the welfare of our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, sons and
daughters - for we are all one family.

Trudy Stevenson MP
Harare North Constituency
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Baroness Park et al on Zimbabwe and Africa Commission in UK Parliament

UK Parliament

House of Lords

Monday 20th June 2005

Africa Commission

Baroness Park of Monmouth rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report by the Africa Commission.

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I am grateful for the many and distinguished noble Lords who are speaking in this debate.

The Commission for Africa report, all 461 pages, deals exhaustively with every aspect of Africa's future and sets out a vast range of new bodies—expert panels, peer reviews, social co-ordination committees, enterprise challenge commissions, presidential initiatives, a peace-building support office, a panel of the wise in the AU Peace and Security Council, an inter-government authority for development, a Social Affairs Commission and very many more, all of which need funding for their secretariats and administrative and operational costs. If all these organisations are created and funded, the AU will very soon become another UN or EU—bureaucratic, out of touch with ordinary people, duplicating much UN effort and likely to absorb much of the money and the skilled people needed for work at the grass roots, work to enable ordinary people to own their own lives and build the economy from below.

I believe that this ambitious plan cannot be implemented by aid workers on the ground alone. We shall need our embassies to work closely with African governments. I was struck, incidentally, by the inclusion of the Chinese in the commission. Was that an African initiative recognising China's increasing presence and influence in Africa, notably in the Sudan and in Zimbabwe?

The G8 meeting is due in July. This month, as we know almost exclusively by the brave act of Kate Hoey MP and her visit to what has become an Iron Curtain country, Zimbabwe, hundreds of thousands of black citizens have had their homes razed to the ground by the police—the forces of law and order who were told to shoot to kill if they encountered resistance. Clinics, hospitals and schools which served them were destroyed and the people, including young children, AIDS sufferers and other sick people, have been brutally driven either into concentration camp areas with no water and no lavatories or to the starving countryside—and this in the depth of winter.

Small free-traders have had their goods confiscated or destroyed. Compassionate men and women and religious orders who have tried to take blankets and food to the people have had them confiscated and have themselves been brutally treated. The Catholic Church has been forbidden by Mugabe to give succour to these people. There is no petrol. No doubt it is fuelling Mugabe's four Chinese jet fighters or his own travel abroad—to the G77, for example.

Why is this relevant to a discussion of the commission's remit? There are two reasons. The first is that the report, although it never once speaks of the treatment of the population of Zimbabwe by its own Government over some four years, has much to say about the nature of good governance, acknowledges that it is a prerequisite of economic and social success for African countries, and recognises:

"If African countries fail in their efforts to overcome weak governance, corruption and conflict, the case for outside support in terms of strong increases in aid is fundamentally undermined".

The report adds that AU/NePAD should eliminate any current restrictions on the mass media, should listen to the trade unions and should provide an impartial justice system. Without effective policing, it says, ordinary people suffer violence, crime and insecurity. Justice needs to be impartial, judicial oversight should be strong, and,

"not least, African journalists have a crucial role in holding the Government to account and exposing corruption and inefficiency".

The African countries well know that that cannot happen in Zimbabwe.

Why cannot these clear sighted and honest assessments in the commission lead to immediate action by the AU to save the suffering people of Zimbabwe? Why cannot the UN act, as it has with the AU in the Sudan? What is the point of the multifarious organs being set up by NePAD and SADC and such organs as the emergency preparedness of contingency planning groups under SADC? What action is being taken on the AU's own African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights report—first produced in 2002, stalled for three years by the Zimbabwe Government, and now at last released? It requires Zimbabwe to restore an impartial judiciary and security forces, to cease arbitrary arrests of political opponents—every one of the MDC MPs has suffered brutal beatings or attacks on their families—and to revise restrictive media and security legislation. That is what the AU report says.

Under the present law, no charity is allowed to send money into Zimbabwe. They, like DfID, have to work through the UN which, with the honourable exception of Unicef, has until recently not been notable for telling the outside world what is happening. The UNDP has actually been working with the Mugabe government on a scheme to interview 30,000 householders to identify the causes of poverty and another for the ministries to ask local people what their plans are for disaster management. What a bitter joke!

The commission has made many constructive proposals, but unless and until the chief architect of NePAD and the AU, South Africa—which dominates the SADC countries, which are virtually its satellites—abandons the discredited quiet diplomacy which works only in Mugabe's favour and does nothing for the suffering people of Zimbabwe, the G8 meeting on Africa will be a cynical and disgraceful exercise. It is not reassuring that Mr Mbeki continues to refuse to see anything wrong in Mugabe's wicked behaviour—something that he may come to rue if Zimbabwe collapses and implodes. That can only be bad for all the surrounding countries.

I hope also that as a member of the commission, President Mkapa of Tanzania will be called to account for his statements made at the African economic summit in South Africa when the news began to emerge of the terrible events named "Operation Clean Up Filth". He said that this was no more than an,

"ongoing clear-up operation, necessary to deal with some of the activities compounding economic difficulties facing the country, and to wipe out a secondary economy that was becoming increasingly active and exacerbating the challenges the country was already contending with".

The Government of Zimbabwe were just trying to formalise the economy. He added that the stance of the West would not be tolerated, especially in the context of the G8.

I believe that the opposite is true. Clearly the commission has accepted the omission from the report of any reference to Zimbabwe, no doubt reassuring itself that it is enough to make many acknowledgements of weak governance in general and to say that,

"the right to life and security is the most basic of human rights".

It acknowledges the existence, without naming them, of fragile states.

However, in the face of the total inaction of President Mbeki, who has the power but not the will to make Mugabe let in the world press and the trade unions, and given the active support for Mugabe of President Mkapa, nothing will be done unless the G8 makes it absolutely clear at the outset that there will be no talks on aid until the AU, and in particular South Africa, acts to end the awful tragedy now going on in Zimbabwe. It could begin by, first, requiring free access by the world press and observers; and secondly, ceasing to block all discussion of Zimbabwe in the UN, and joining us in requiring full reports from all the UN bodies present in Zimbabwe, particularly on the issue of human rights, and immediate action to distribute food and medicine, but not through the government. A child is dying every 15 minutes in Zimbabwe, and AIDS is destroying the population. Thirdly, it might send in an AU/UN mission to review the conduct of the police and the state of justice; and fourthly, revoke the legislation which prevents NGOs from receiving money from outside. Without that, the present emergency would rank with the tsunami for urgent need and would attract instant donor support—but no one is going to give to enrich Mugabe.

Somehow, the G8 meeting and the commission's report must be used to test the good faith of the African countries. At the least, the wall that they have built must come down and aid must flow in freely to those who need it. We are witnessing the death of a people. The G8 meeting must be used to save them, and no empty declarations must be made. The report says that it has tried to be blisteringly honest and face up to unpalatable truths. We are told that the right to life and security is the most basic of human rights—in the context of the Sudan, Somalia and the DRC—and not least that the AU has moved towards putting forward the concept of non-indifference to replace the OAU policy of non-interference. According to the report, that new policy recognises the responsibility of member states to promote human security into practice. It must not forget that it has called its report Our Common Interest.

I have one further proposal for immediate action—that the Prime Minister should ask President Mbeki to arrange for an educational visit to Zimbabwe by Mr Bob Geldof on behalf of the commission. I know that Africans—and I have known many in my long life—are proud people. I cannot believe that they will shame their countries by continuing to pass by on the other side, and pretend that Mugabe is not wilfully destroying his people. They must stop him, and at once—and that can only be one of the good arguments for the commission and the G8.


Lord Blaker: My Lords, I too congratulate my noble friend Lady Park on securing yet another important debate. Like her, I want to talk about the problem of Zimbabwe. In 2001, the Prime Minister made remarks about the prospective partnership between the developed and the underdeveloped world. He said that, as part of the bargain between the two sides, there would be no tolerance of Mr Mugabe's henchmen in Zimbabwe. Things have not turned out quite like that. The Government and the European Union have imposed some sanctions, but they have no sign of having any effect.

The Government have clearly been deterred from being more positive in their actions by the fear of being accused of neo-colonialism. They have done nothing to deserve that charge; nevertheless, it continues to be made by Mr Mugabe. I am a bit doubtful about how many leaders in Africa actually believe the charge.

All noble Lords are familiar with the horrors of the Mugabe regime. This month, they have got even worse; one believed that they could not get worse, but they can. The so-called Operation Clean Up Filth involves the demolition of many houses and businesses. It has created hundreds of thousands of homeless people. The churches have been instructed not to accept the homeless for shelter. More than 300,000 schoolchildren have dropped out of school because their homes have been destroyed. The police are delivering bills for electricity, water and sewage to the homeless that, of course, they do not deserve to receive.

That policy of new destruction—it is right to call it genocidal—clears out of the townships the people who live there, who tend to support the opposition. It puts them in the countryside, where they are dispersed and disorganised and fall under the control of local chiefs, who are politically appointed. That is what has happened recently to those who support the opposition in the townships. The only valid comparison in the world for that action is Pol Pot. The action makes a solution even more urgent than it has been.

What is to be done? I am sorry not to see the noble Lord, Lord Hughes of Woodside, with us today. He said last week that quiet diplomacy had failed, as has megaphone diplomacy; we all have to agree. The world is at a loss, but there is an exception to that in the form of my noble friend Lady Park, who had some interesting ideas. The key lies with the African leaders. They have failed in connection with Zimbabwe to live up to their undertakings to promote human rights, good governance and the rule of law—and to exercise peer pressure to obtain those results.

At present, Her Majesty's Government have an unparalleled opportunity to do something useful. The Prime Minister has the presidency of the G8, the most influential group of countries in the world, which has great powers of persuasion. Most of the G8 is committed to relief for Africa and the forgiving of debt. My suggestion is that the Prime Minister should use his position to persuade his colleagues in the G8, or some of them at least, to persuade the African leaders to live up to their undertakings. President Mbeki will be in Gleneagles, for example.

I want to emphasise that proposal, as it is worth serious consideration. It involves no need for military force. It does not necessarily involve every G8 country; you could have a few taking part. There is no need for much publicity about the proposal. If several G8 countries took part, it would help to counter the allegations of Mr Mugabe about neo-colonialism by the United Kingdom. Not many political leaders have had such an opportunity as now lies with the Prime Minister, and I hope that he will seize it.


Baroness Chalker of Wallasey: My Lords, once again, I thank my noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth for seizing the opportunity for a debate on the Commission for Africa. It was not my intention to speak about Zimbabwe tonight, but no one could fail to heed the words of my noble friends Lord Blaker and Lady Park, and one hopes that quiet diplomacy will be better utilised in the months ahead. I shall return to that.


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The Zimbabwean

Zimbabweans face crisis of spirit
HARARE - Millions of Zimbabweans are losing faith in democracy - but there
is hope. Here MDC Youth Secretary Nelson Chamisa and Chikomba Constituency
Secretary Frank Matandirotya spell out their vision for the future, arguing
for a united civic front and decisive action against a "horde of brutal men".
Twenty-five years is long enough for a nation to have no economic strategy,
no unifying vision, and no common purpose. The time has come for all
Zimbabweans to get off the sidelines, to get involved in the process, to be
part of the healing this country needs.

Throughout history each generation has passed on leadership to the next. We
have to make this a public dialogue, a national conversation about our
country's future, so that we can present to the people of this country
ideas, choices, and a sensible plan for getting our country moving in the
right direction again. The MDC is here to renew a journey we started in
1999. Those ideas and dreams changed our nation.

Our country is in trouble. And while Mugabe and Zanu (PF) have been making
excuses for deadlock and delay, people in other nations have made strides in
democracy. Can we say truthfully that their chance for change was better
than ours? And yet we face our own crisis of the spirit here. We are told we
can no longer change, we have seen our better days. They even say the MDC is
history. Cynics are having a field day because across this nation people
have been betrayed by a government out of touch with our values and beholden
to the privileged few.

Millions are losing faith in the very idea of democracy and even in danger
of losing heart because they feel their lives may no longer have a deeper
meaning or purpose. But Zanu (PF) can't kill hope that easily. We are not
saying Mugabe and his party are bad people. But their approach to governing
this country has badly failed. They have ignored the suffering of those who
are victims of AIDS, of crime, of poverty, of ignorance, of hatred. They
have mortgaged our children's future to avoid the decisions they lack the
courage to make.

They embarrassed our nation with their 3rd Chimurenga and 'Operation Muramba
tsvina'. The people of this country are now tired of excuses and blame.

We believe Zimbabwe is being held back by lack of pride. The Zanu (PF)
leadership has been a major drawback in the advancement of our country. They
are least concerned with inspiring development. The innovative people in
this country; according to them come form the 'wrong tribe' or 'political
affiliation'. The regime's rulers have not only been morally corrupt from
the start but also trained to belittle the people.

After the divisive colonial rule Zimbabwe needed serious visionary
leadership. But all we have is a horde of brutal men whose vision of
leadership hardly extends beyond their families and cronies. And we have a
single person who has led his party into destroying the country and still
claims to be the best 'leader'. This has eroded the people's pride.

The past weeks have been tough in Zimbabwe. Zanu (PF) wants to destroy the
democratic hopes of the people. The violence we have seen is a power grab by
Zanu (PF). But the people of this country reject violence and oppose
dictatorship. In forums where people meet to discuss their political future,
they express their clear commitments, they want strong protection for
individual rights, they want their independence and they want their freedom.
A desperate political opponent in the mould of Zanu (PF) can be very
dangerous. Each attack must be answered not only with sorrow but also with
greater determination, deeper resolve and bold action against the tired yet
very brutal regime.
And the only way to protect our people is by a united civic front and
decisive action.
In the 1970s the advance of democracy in Lisbon and Madrid inspired
democratic change in Latin America. In the 1980s the example of Poland
ignited a fire of freedom in all of Eastern Europe. We are confident that
with the MDC, freedom will lift the sights and hopes of millions in this

We can and we must do more. First we need to dispel destructive myths about
the MDC being the front of Tony Blair and Western imperialism. Secondly, our
party is expanding dramatically our efforts to support and to encourage the
voices of the MDC for a stable country. We owe our children and
grandchildren nothing less.

Our civil liberties are our strength. We should undermine the elaborate
system of lies that the regime depends upon to survive. And once the
pretences are stripped away more and more people will realize that they are
not alone with their dissident thoughts and we will start to act upon them.
Freedom comes when enough people stand up to demand it at the ballot box if
they must. This nation can and will be renewed.
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The Zimbabwean

Torture: Stories of survival
"People don't understand, they think I must have done something wrong for
the police to detain me in the first place."
"I don't sleep because I hear the guard opening the door. Still I hear them
tell me 'you're nothing, you're nothing'. This is my life now, because of
nothing. They put me in prison for nothing."

"You find that it is rather difficult to cope with anything, even to focus.
You start to work on something and you get a noise, or you have to go in a
lift and these are echoes and triggers of what happened to you."

"I often think, was it the right decision to come to the UK? I came for a
very genuine case, a serious one but I'm not sure it's right... When we came
we were Sudanese but now my daughter is not Sudanese. She studies here but
still she is not British. I hate this situation, to be in between."

"I don't want to be a millionaire, I just want what has been taken away."

"I think anyone that's suffered torture must find within himself, herself,
some sort of mission. They've got to be prepared to accept that they are
going to be different and accept to a certain degree what has happened. If
they can say I am not going to be beaten down, I'm going to become a
contributing member of my community again that will prove to the torturers
that I have beaten them, that I have survived."

Torture is the calculated physical and psychological assault on the
individual, a practice used to instil fear, punish or degrade, to
dehumanise, obliterate the self. It is often said that anyone who has been
tortured remains tortured, long after the physical wounds have healed. But
for all those who have undergone the horrors of torture, even the most
determined, the process of recovery is a long and uncertain journey.

The exhibition tells the stories of survivors of torture who reside in the
UK. Behind their everyday demeanour, their stories reveal the profound
effect their experiences have had on their own lives, the lives of their
families and how others perceive them.

The portraits are full length and framed by neutral space. Photographer
Veronique Rolland aims to unify the person from head to toe - a symbolic
reversal of torture's brutalising process of fragmentation. Her subjects are
young and old, from different backgrounds, religious and political beliefs
but united by their horrifying experiences. Their stories underscore the
survivors' struggles against institutional barriers of public

A common thread connecting the subjects is the feeling of isolation,
displacement, despair and hope. The exhibition shows that torture is not far
away but touches this country in a variety of ways - not only in refugee
communities but also British nationals, and in a variety of contexts. It
aims not only to increase awareness of the issues but to empower the
individuals by giving them a platform for telling their stories, how they
wish to tell them and what they wish to say.

Activist Patson Muzuwa left Zimbabwe in 2001 after being arrested 9 times
and tortured three times. Electrified and beaten, he escaped the country
with the help of a British journalist "my good Samaritan". He arrived in the
UK with a broken arm and head wounds. He continues to campaign against the
Zimbabwean government in the UK, freely. "I am deeply embarrassed when I
meet people who think asylum seekers like me are just people who need some
money from the government" he says. "I am not in this country to steal any
benefits. I pay my own taxes. I want to be seen as a refugee not a thief."

The exhibition coincides with the International Day in Support of Survivors
of Torture (26 June). Collaborating organisations in addition to REDRESS are
Amnesty International (UK) and the Medical Foundation for the Care of
Victims of Torture.

TORTURE: STORIES OF SURVIVAL, Oxo Tower Wharf, Bargehouse Street, London SE1
23 June - 3 July 2005, 11am-6pm daily. Admission free
Information: 020 7401 2255;;
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The Zimbabwean

What is to become of us?
Dear Family and Friends,

I am in deep shock at the situation as the government's "Operation Restore
Order" has gone into its third week. Everywhere you look you see
desperation, fear and shock on people's faces. Everyone is saying the same
thing: "But why are they doing this to us, what are we going to do, where
can we go, we are going to die."

On a short drive around town the aftermath is there for to see. There are
mounds of rubble on street corners, stacks of timber, tin and asbestos piled
on road sides, dismantled pre-fabricated houses leaning against trees and
people staring in shock at what was there one day and gone the next.

In a piece of grassy wasteland near a big supermarket I saw a woman sitting
surrounded by her life's possessions on Friday morning - a battered kettle,
a plastic basin and a small pile of clothes tied up in a blanket.

In the town you can see many people still desperately looking for somewhere
to stay after their homes have been demolished. Young women carrying
suitcases with babies strapped on their backs, calling to others for
advice - "where can we go", "do you know of anywhere".

On one street corner I saw a man sitting on top of a pile of rubble and next
to him in the dust and filth were a battered cardboard suitcase, a rolled up
grass sleeping mat and a small wardrobe. Another man passed me on the main
road pushing a supermarket trolley which was crammed with his life's
possessions - pots and pans, a tin bucket, a thin foam mattress and a
threadbare grey blanket.

At the bus stop on the outskirts of town, at least a hundred people wait,
surging out into the road as every vehicle approaches, desperate for a lift.
After three months of chronic fuel shortages lifts are few and far between
and most people travel only when they have to.

This week on state owned television there was film footage of this"
cleansing" operation starting on farms. Peasant farmers, surrounded by their
furniture, clothes and harvested crops, being evicted from the farms that
the government seized from white commercial farmers. This week there was
also the news that one of just a few commercial farmers left in this area
was forced off his land. He had to leave behind the export crop of flowers
and the fields of newly germinated winter wheat.

It is ironic that while hundreds of thousands of people continue to be
forced into poverty in Zimbabwe, pop stars and politicians are planning to
"make poverty history" in Africa and world leaders talk about forgiving us
our debt. There seems no sense to this whatsoever. Please keep the utterly
desperate plight of hundreds of thousands of displaced Zimbabweans in your
minds and prayers. Ndini shamwari yenyu.
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The Zimbabwean
Vigil Diary – 18th June 2005
LONDON - A brilliant Vigil on possibly the hottest Saturday since we started nearly three years ago. As the digital thermometer on a building overlooking the Vigil rose to 29C, there was no slacking in the energetic drumming and dancing.
The Vigil was augmented by members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) who had been asked by the leadership back home to join others in the diaspora to mark World Refugee Day by protesting outside their embassies. During the Vigil, we were disturbed to hear that 30 brave WOZA women, demanding a halt to “Operation Murambatsvina”, had been arrested during a street protest in Bulawayo.

Along with the Vigil child, Tinotenda, and the Vigil dog, Chai, we were joined by the Vigil pavement artist, Steve, who spent the afternoon drawing a lovely picture in support of WOZA and the Vigil. It must have been photographed hundreds of times by passers-by. Steve kindly gave us all the money he collected.

A highlight of the day was an inspirational talk by Lucia Mativenga, first Vice-President of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Union and Secretary for the MDC Women’s wing.

Next weekend the Vigil is hosting two events:
- On Saturday we will be joined by WEZIMBABWE, an organization set up to help Zimbabweans. We will be helping them raise funds for their “Operation Murambatsvina Emergency Appeal”. Check for how to make donations.

- On Sunday, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum will be commemorating the UN international day in support of victims of torture. There will be a special service from 2 – 4 pm for Zimbabwean torture victims at St. Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, Covent Garden. After the service the group will walk to the Vigil with flowers and a special Vigil will be held for the torture victims from 4 – 6 pm.

FOR THE RECORD: about 45 supporters came today.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 20th June, 7.30 pm, Forum at the George, Fleet Street, London (opposite the Royal Courts of Justice). Discussion on an action plan to address the humanitarian crisis caused by “Operation Murambatsvina”
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The Zimbabwean

Unity is vital - Ncube
LONDON - 'In the hot seat' on SWRADIO AFRICA this week focused on the
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe. Violet Gonda interviewed Professor Welshman
Ncube, MDC Secretary General speaking from Zimbabwe, Miloon Kothari Special
Rapporteur on Adequate Housing for the United Nations Commission on Human
Rights in Geneva and journalist, Basildon Peta, based in South Africa.
Violet Gonda: Reports in the state media allege that the Broad Alliance
which called for the mass stay-aways is in tatters, and quotes you as saying
you are not aware of this coalition. What exactly is the position of the MDC
on the mass stay-away and what is the MDC going to do about the destruction
of the settlements?

Professor Ncube: Well, I will not waste time talking about things which are
in the state media, because all of it is plain rubbish. The important thing
is that we have a catastrophe on our hands and we as the MDC are doing
everything that we can to assist many of these people with alternative
shelter in conjunction with the churches, and we are trying to get them
food. It's a huge task and we are doing everything we can.

Violet Gonda: And Basildon Peta, from the media point of view, how do you
see events in Zimbabwe?

Basildon Peta: Very depressing indeed. The tragic situation in Zimbabwe
keeps on worsening by the day, and the sad thing is there is fatigue now in
the media. When the informal settlements were being destroyed, there was
barely a mention of it in the South African media.

Violet Gonda: Mr Kothari, I understand that you are compiling statistics on
the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Miloon Kothari: There is overwhelming evidence that there are gross human
rights violations taking place in Zimbabwe, and we are continuing to compile
information. What is very disturbing is the news of particularly vulnerable
groups - widows, HIV/ AIDS orphans and others - who are now homeless.

Violet Gonda: I understand you sent an urgent appeal to the Zimbabwean
Foreign Affairs Minister urging the government to immediately halt the

Miloon Kothari: Yes, I sent an urgent communication on June 3 - but we have
not as yet received a response. I think its important that the government
admits the scale of the problem - that will make it easier for the
international community to assist.

Violet Gonda: Is Mass Action a realistic proposition for Zimbabweans and
what will it actually take to get Zimbabweans onto the streets in their
thousands Professor Ncube?

Professor Ncube: The struggle for democratic rights and for democracy is
always a realistic option. There is no situation where we can say 'we give
up the struggle to be free'. Whatever the difficulties for Mass Action in
Zimbabwe today, it remains the only option available for the people to
confront the Mugabe regime. The way forward as we see it is for all the
democratic forces to unite, to work together. We are going to have a long
struggle. As long as we remain focused, we remain united. We will work
within the Broad Alliance, we will work with other actors in civil society
to consider every course of action is available to us.
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The Zimbabwean

A clear crime against humanity
Open letter from David Coltart

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwean Minister of Education on Monday June 13, 2005 made
a statement regarding the plight of the hundreds of thousands who have been
affected by Zimbabwe's forcible destruction of homes in urban areas which
has occurred during the last few weeks and which continues as I write. This
is how the government- controlled Herald reported his comments:
"Education Minister Aeneas Chigwedere said Monday that people would be moved
on to an "appropriate place," adding that there is "nobody in Zimbabwe who
does not have a rural home."

I have just received a list of the people in one of the churches that has
offered shelter to the people devastated by this atrocity. Well over half
the families in that church are not originally from Zimbabwe at all and so
have no rural home to go to. Most of them are from Malawi and the rest are
from South Africa, Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique.

Many other people living in areas where they were lawfully resident, even
Zimbabwean citizens, will not have a rural home to go to and even if they
have an area to go to they may not be welcome there at this juncture (more
mouths to feed in an already catastrophic food situation) and will almost
certainly not have any actual home or structure there to give them shelter
in mid winter.

Clearly the Minister is not telling the truth, nor is the regime. The truth
is that hundreds of thousands have been rendered homeless by these brutal
acts and no provision has been made to ensure that these poor folk will have
a roof over their heads in the coming months, which after all are the
coldest months of the year. Most of these displaced people were already
malnourished. Tens of thousands of them have Aids. The combination of
malnutrition, Aids, lack of shelter and cold will cause thousands to die.

If the international community does not react quickly to provide tents,
food, blankets, medicines we will face a humanitarian disaster of
unprecedented proportions in the coming weeks.

It is important to recollect the following core principles set out in the
report of the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty
published in September 2001:

A. State sovereignty implies responsibility, and the primary responsibility
the protection of its people lies with the State itself.

B. Where a population is suffering serious harm, as a result of internal
war, insurgency, repression or state failure, and the State in question is
unwilling or unable to act all averted, the principle of non-intervention
yields to the international responsibility to protect.

The international community, under the leadership of United Nations, has a
clear responsibility to protect those citizens of Zimbabwe who are now
suffering serious harm as a result of state repression.

The international community's responsibility does not end with the provision
of humanitarian assistance. What is happening in Zimbabwe is clearly a crime
against humanity as defined in Article 7 of the Rome statute of the
international criminal court, which states:

1.For the purpose of the Statute, "crime against humanity" means any of the
following acts when committed as part of the widespread or systematic attack
directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack:

(d) Deportation or forcible transfer of population;

(f) Torture;

2.(d) "Deportation or forcible transfer of population" means forced
displacement of the persons concerned by expulsion or other coercive axe
from the area in which they are lawfully present, without grounds permitted
under international law;

(e) "Torture" means the intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering,
whether physical or mental, upon a person in the custody or under the
control of the accused; except that torture shall not include pain or
suffering a rising only from, inherent in or incidental to, lawful

Zimbabwe, not surprisingly, has not ratified the Treaty of Rome. It will
require a resolution of the Security Council to initiate a prosecution.
Excuses have been given that because such a resolution will be blocked there
is no point in attempting to obtain such a resolution. In my view that is a
fallacious argument for if it were to be applied universally it would mean
that dictatorial regimes will know that they can act with impunity because
no one is even prepared to attempt to have them indicted.

David Coltart MP, MDC Shadow Justice Minister
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The Zimbabwean

UK gives US$400,000 quick aid
LONDON - The following is the full text of a statement by British Foreign
Secretary, Jack Straw MP, on Tuesday. He was updating Parliament on the
actions the British Government following the March Parliamentary elections
in Zimbabwe and the recent security crackdown there.
The recent events in Zimbabwe are of grave concern. Zimbabweans are deprived
of their democratic and human rights, facing the consequences of chronic
economic misrule, and grappling with severe food shortages. Over the last
three weeks the Mugabe regime has launched a brutal crackdown on some of the
most vulnerable Zimbabweans, including inhabitants of urban shanty
settlements and informal traders.

Over 30,000 have been arrested, with over 40,000 households (approximately
200,000 people) affected with their homes and businesses callously
destroyed. People suffering from AIDS are amongst the worst affected. Many
chronically ill people have been driven from their homes. HIV prevention and
home-based care programmes have been severely disrupted.

We are also very concerned about the welfare of children. Infants have been
forced to sleep outside in the middle of winter. There are also reports of
children being detained in prison and separated from their parents. The
crackdown continues to spread across the country to many urban and some
rural areas. Armed police have swiftly crushed any resistance with teargas.
This action has received widespread international condemnation. The UN's
Special Representative on the Right to Adequate Housing called this "a new
form of apartheid.

In response, we have joined our EU partners in demanding that the Government
of Zimbabwe end this crackdown, in a statement on 7 June. Our Ambassador in
Harare has raised our strong concerns, directly to the Government of
Zimbabwe, in meetings with the Vice President and the Minister of State for
National Security.
My Honourable Friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth
Affairs (Lord Triesman) summoned the Zimbabwean Charge d'Affaires on 13 June
to protest at the continuing human rights abuses under the ongoing

We remain in close contact with our EU partners, with whom I raised Zimbabwe
at the 13 June General Affairs and External Relations Council. We also
continue to work with other international partners to maximise the pressure
on Zimbabwe to end this brutality and are discussing these and other human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe, with neighbouring African states and regional
African bodies.

DFID are already responding to this man-made disaster, providing US$ 400,000
so far towards humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable mainly through
the UN and International Organisation for Migration. A further contribution
is imminent. To date, over 5,000 families have been reached with food,
blankets, soap and other forms of assistance. Where appropriate transport
and emergency water and sanitation has been provided.

Since 2002 the European Union has imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe; an
arms embargo on the country and a travel ban and asset freeze on President
Mugabe and leading regime figures. The EU's Common Position is kept under
regular review. Together with our EU partners we have recently reassessed
the situation in Zimbabwe following the March parliamentary elections.

We have agreed in the light of that assessment to extend the list of those
regime figures caught by the travel ban and asset freeze, from 95 to 120
names. The new list includes all the senior members of the new government
and politburo, and senior figures involved in manipulating the election.

This decision emphasises the EU's continued concerns about the lack of
democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law that exists in
Zimbabwe, and the failure of Mugabe and his regime to respond to
international calls for reform.

Her Majesty's Government will continue to work with the European Union and
our other international partners to restore democratic governance, human
rights and the rule of law to Zimbabwe.
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The Zimbabwean
Living in fear of demolition
The Choga's humble home.
RUWA - It’s a small room – both kitchen and bedroom. The bed takes up more than half the space available, the rest is occupied by cooking utensils and an unused paraffin stove. Clothes dangle from a cord stretched across the ceiling above the foot of the bed.
To the outsider it is a cluttered shack. To Sheunesu Choga and his family this is home. For more than two years the Chogas have occupied this room in a cabin situated in the high density suburbs of Ruwa. Even with no electricity supplies and no indoor plumbing facilities, it has been shelter from the elements of nature: the unbearably hot October sun, the chilly June nights and the relentless November rain.

It is to this humble room that the young couple brought their new-born baby from the local clinic. Here they have watched this child, Sibongile, learn to crawl and walk. Even without all these sentimental attachments, moving from this place was not an option.

The prevailing economic crisis makes it virtually impossible for people like them to afford accommodation in better environs. Their landlord understands that this family is sustained by odd jobs, which are difficult to find these days. He has always been patient of the frequent delays in rent payments. So as far as the Chogas were concerned, this room– which cost them $125 000 a month - would remain their haven for many years to come. They are no longer so sure of that now.

Like many others renting backyard dwellings in their vicinity, they are now living in constant fear that the municipal authorities and police will turn up and raze their homes to the ground. Theirs are what the powers that be have deemed illegal and unsafe structures - even though some of them have been standing for many years.

In a sense the Chogas are lucky; they have been warned. Contrary to official claims, some of the initial victims of the infamous ‘clean-up operation’ deny ever receiving grace periods prior to its implementation.

“Every day for the past two weeks rumours have been circulating- I can’t recall the number of times I’ve been told they’re coming tomorrow- but they haven’t appeared,” Choga says. “It is not that we are looking forward to it but they should just get it over and done with - I’m reluctant to go anywhere for fear that I will return and find my home gone, my belongings damaged and my family out in the cold.”

Their torturous wait for the inevitable continues. The infamous Mbare, known as a criminal hot spot, has already been ‘cleaned’. As have Tongogara and WhiteCliffe Cooperatives. Ruwa’s turn will come. Demolitions in neighbouring Tafara/ Mabvuku have brought this harsh reality closer to home.

The question on everyone’s lips is: “What will tomorrow bring?” - Names have been changed to protect identities.
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Prescription for Africa
      The Boston Globe

      SATURDAY, JUNE 25, 2005

      The infectious diseases and high rates of infant and maternal
mortality that cast such a shadow over the future of Africa will never be
prevented or treated successfully as long as the continent lacks a basic
corps of nurses, doctors, pharmacists and other health-care workers. When
the Group of Eight industrialized nations gather in Scotland next month,
they should commit to subsidizing the salaries of African health workers to
keep them from leaving their countries in search of higher pay and better
conditions in wealthier countries.

      AIDS has both put this shortage in sharp relief and worsened it, since
the disease has killed thousands of health workers in the prime of their
careers. All the well-intentioned efforts of nongovernmental organizations,
the UN's Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and President
George W. Bush's initiative to combat AIDS are limited by the lack of
personnel on the ground for prevention and treatment programs.

      Inadvertently, wealthier nations contribute to this problem by wooing
African health professionals with salaries that their home countries cannot
come close to matching. In 2002 and 2003, more than 3,000 nurses from
African countries moved to Britain. Of the 1,200 physicians trained in
Zimbabwe in the 1990s, just 360 remained by 2001. At last year's
international AIDS conference in Bangkok, the US AIDS coordinator, Randall
Tobias, said that an Ethiopian had told him there were more
Ethiopian-trained physicians in Chicago than in all of Ethiopia.

      While health-care workers from Africa should not be prevented from
seeking work in wealthier countries, the G-8 nations should agree not to
recruit on the continent, while they are simultaneously trying to bolster
health cadres in sub-Saharan Africa. In some countries, public funding is so
weak that trained workers cannot find jobs. Kenya has 4,000 unemployed

      Physicians for Human Rights, a Boston-based nonprofit group, consulted
with international public official experts to put a figure on what it would
cost to fill the gap of about one million health professionals: $2 billion
in 2006, more in succeeding years. African countries, which would be
expected to provide a portion of the total, would use donations not to try
to equal Western salary levels but just to provide decent wages, incentives
to practice in underserved areas, more training, and improvements in
workplace safety.

      Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain has said he wants the G-8 nations
to focus more on relieving poverty in Africa. The Physicians for Human
Rights report provides a blueprint and a cost estimate for one necessary
step in achieving this goal. An Africa without a stable workforce of trained
health professionals will never escape the grip of disease or poverty.

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