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

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New Zealand Herald
Silent deaths in rural Zimbabwe
A Zimbabwe child climbs in the rubble of what used to be the family home in Nguboyenja surburb of Bulawayo. Picture / Reuters
A Zimbabwe child climbs in the rubble of what used to be the family home in Nguboyenja surburb of Bulawayo. Picture / Reuters
27.06.05 4.00pm
By Daniel Howden
MATABELELAND -  As a United Nations envoy begins a tour of Zimbabwe today, The Independent has revealed a deadly nexus of Aids, starvation and depopulation of the cities that is sending tens of thousands to a silent death in rural areas.

One month into President Robert Mugabe's brutal campaign of demolition and displacement, which has cost at least 400,000 people their homes and livelihoods, the scale of the humanitarian disaster is emerging.

The victims of this forced expulsion - which has been compared to the devastating policies of Pol Pot in Cambodia - are arriving in the already famine-stricken countryside, where, jobless and homeless, they are waiting to die. Unofficial estimates obtained by The Independent suggest the death rate is already outstripping the birth rate nationwide by 4000 a week.

The UN has responded by dispatching a special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, who arrived in Zimbabwe last night, to assess the position. The Tanzanian official, head of the UN habitat programme, is expected to be taken on a carefully organised visit to urban areas where evidence of the pogrom has been hastily cleared.

Tibaijuka's trip comes as Western countries ramp up their criticism of the operation, which has seen at least two children crushed to death in demolished houses and deprived countless families of housing or income.

New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark said there was public concern about the events in Zimbabwe.

"Bulldozers wrecking people's homes, two small kiddies killed and maybe more...people can see this is a country in deep, deep crisis," she said on NewstalkZB.

Britain and Australia have signalled they may support a New Zealand plan to ask the International Cricket Council to boycott Zimbabwe.

UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw last week accused Mugabe of perpetrating a "horror" on his own people, while European Union Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso chided the African Union on Saturday for failing to take a strong enough stance on Zimbabwe's human rights record.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon said on Sunday Africa's failure to act on Zimbabwe could hamper a deal by the G8 group of rich countries to secure a deal on tackling African poverty at the G8 summit in Scotland next week.

Mugabe, whom critics accuse of using the campaign to target political opponents in Zimbabwe's urban shantytowns, said he welcomed the chance to explain the operation to the UN.

"Our people ... deserve much better than the shacks that are now being romanticised as fitting habitats for them," Mugabe said in remarks published in the state media on Saturday.

Situation on the ground

The St Anne's Catholic mission in Brunapeg will be one place not on the UN's government-controlled tour. The remote outpost, south of Bulawayo, has found itself on the front line of this new battle for survival as the mission provides the only prospect of medical help for a hundred miles in all directions.

Pedro Porrino, a Spanish physician who has been working at the mission for three years, says that what is unfolding is an unprecedented crisis. "For the first time I am seeing people who are literally starving to death," he says. "There are people coming to the mission asking to be admitted just so they can eat... Out in the bush families are living on one meal a day."

HIV infection rates in Zimbabwe have soared to the highest in the world and in combination with the growing impact of malnourishment - in a country where the United Nations World Food Programme estimates that four million people need immediate food aid - the effects are devastating.

"Ninety per cent of the people I see are HIV-infected," says Dr Porrino. "Most of the time I wouldn't even need to perform the test; I can see as soon as I look at them that they have HIV. I am seeing men of 25 and 35 weighing 45 kilograms and it's because they have Aids but it's also because they don't eat at all."

With proper nutrition and medical care, HIV sufferers in the West typically take up to 10 years to develop full-blown Aids. For the starving Zimbabweans, their immune systems already weakened by malnutrition, the transition is now a matter of months.

According to one senior consultant surgeon in Bulawayo, who preferred not to be named, the scale of the Aids epidemic has so far masked the extent of the famine. "Put simply, people are dying of Aids before they can starve to death," he said.

Brunapeg is typical of the drought-ravaged areas into which Mr Mugabe is driving the urban poor. The hospital and school rise out of the low scrub, the only buildings of any kind for miles around. Rusting petrol pumps stand idle at the filling station, there hasn't been a fuel delivery in Brunapeg for years.

"Now that people are being forced to come out here what's here for them? Nothing," says the Spanish doctor.

"There are so many people here who have never been into town. The only thing they know is to eat and to survive and now they can't even do that."

With the rural famine gaining lethal momentum, the gap between the political rhetoric of Mr Mugabe, in the capital, Harare, and the situation on the ground has reached surreal proportions. Mr Mugabe, in power since 1980, has pronounced himself pleased with the results of the campaign that he has titled Murambatsvina, which means "drive out the rubbish" in Shona.

The wholesale destruction of shantytowns, squatter camps and street markets from the outskirts of Harare to the majestic Victoria Falls, is hailed by the ruling Zanu-PF as an overdue clampdown on illegal settlements and the criminal element on the fringe of society. The Education Minister, Aeneas Chigwedere, has insisted "people had been moved to an appropriate place", adding that there is "nobody in Zimbabwe who does not have a rural home".

But David Coltart, an MP with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said what had happened was nothing short of a pogrom against the government's opponents.

The state now exercises total control over media and movement inside Zimbabwe. The last two dissenting voices, SW Radio Africa and the Daily News, have been forced to close. A recent headline in The Chronicle, a government mouthpiece, told its readers that Britain was following Zimbabwe's lead and demolishing up to 400,000 homes in a similar clean-up campaign.

Foreign reporters have been expelled and millions of pounds have been spent on strengthening the secret police force, the CIO, in order to infiltrate civil society and opposition groups. In this atmosphere of intimidation and misinformation many Zimbabweans have little idea of what is happening outside their immediate surroundings.

In the hospitals of Bulawayo there are no queues to speak of. But the reason is that people are dying before they can reach a city hospital, according to Dr Mike Cotton, a consultant surgeon.

In antenatal clinics, HIV infection rates are running at 50 per cent. Tests conducted in army barracks show infection rates in excess of 80 per cent.

Zimbabwe, alone among the countries of southern Africa is seeing negative population growth. According to official figures the population stands at 12 million. A senior health official, speaking on condition of anonymity said the real figure could be as low as 9.5 million. Average life expectancy in Zimbabwe has plummeted to just 33.

In Brunapeg, Dr Porrino says: "People ask me why they should bother to be tested for HIV. They ask what I can do for them if they are infected. And I have to tell them the truth: nothing."

And the doctor has a question of his own: "Does anyone in the outside world know what's going on here? What are people waiting for?"

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Sunday, June 26, 2005

More Mugabe Insanity


And, here is a slideshow of the destruction, including burning homes in the night!

Zimbabweans are voicing anger at the weakness of the Opposition.

The number is now estimated at between 200,000 and 1,500,000 homeless after the "cleanup".

A family in Zimbabwe wake up on a roadside among whta is left of their belongings. They are one of the thousands left homeless earlier this month in President Mugabe's "Drive out the Trash" campaign.

President Mugabe feeling the heat from the international community vowed to begin building hundreds of homes for those he displaced. This announcement of course came after his five week long campaign that has left anywhere from 200,000 to 1.5 million homeless!...

Hundreds of homes have been built in Zimbabwe's capital to replace some of the thousands destroyed in a widely criticized official "cleanup" campaign, the government said Saturday ahead of a planned visit by a United Nations envoy.

President Robert Mugabe earlier scorned Western "demonization" of his five-week program called Operation Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out Trash," which has left between 200,000 and 1.5 million Zimbabweans without homes or livelihoods.

Saturday's announcement followed the condemnation by 10 U.N. human rights experts of the demolition of tens of thousands of homes in shantytowns and the destruction of street markets and vegetable gardens. More than 200 international human rights and civic groups Thursday demanded an end to the campaign, as have Western governments, including the United States, Britain and Australia.

The EU criticized the African Union for not speaking out strongly against the inhumanity of Mugabe's human rights violations. EU Commission President Barroso made the statements on a vist to South Africa.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso expressed disappointment on Saturday with the African Union's silence on Zimbabwe, saying human rights should be respected as universal values.

Barroso discussed Zimbabwe with South African President Thabo Mbeki one day after African Union officials said they would make no statement on Zimbabwe's latest crackdown. A ferocious government blitz against illegal homes and businesses has left tens of thousands of people homeless.

"I was disappointed with the statement made by the African Union," Barroso told a news conference.

"Questions of human rights should be the concern of all people ... these are universal values and everybody should respect those values."

A man carries his belongings as he takes a look back at a burning home in Zimbabwe.
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1.5 million refugees in 30 days
Meet Robert Mugabe, leader of Zimbabwe

Posted: June 27, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005

Zimbabwe's leader is not the first Marxist-nationalist to turn his country
upside down by displacing millions.

But, according to historians and geo-political analysts, Robert Mugabe may
have done it faster than any other dictator - including Josef Stalin, Mao
Zedung and Cambodia's Pol Pot.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born Feb. 21, 1924 in the landlocked republic in
south central Africa formerly called Rhodesia, which achieved independence
from the United Kingdom in 1980.

Mugabe's father is believed to have been from Malawi. He was raised as a
Roman Catholic and was educated in Jesuit schools. He qualified as a teacher
at age 17, but left to study for a B.A. in English and history at Fort Hare
University in South Africa, an illustrious university at the time,
graduating in 1951.

By 1960, Mugabe had become a committed Marxist, joining the National
Democratic Party, which later became the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union. He
left ZAPU in 1963 to form Zimbabwe African National Union.

He was detained with other nationalist leaders Joshua Nkomo and Edson Zvobgo
in 1964 and remained in prison for 10 years, where he studied law. On his
release he left Rhodesia for Mozambique. In 1974, he led the Chinese-backed
military arm of ZANU against the Ian Smith-led government of Rhodesia. A
year later, when a bomb killed the leader of ZANU, Mugabe gained full
control of the organization.

      The second satellite photo, taken June 4, 2005, shows the path of
destruction of Mugabe's home-destruction campaign.

Though elections were held resulting in the election of the first bi-racial
coalition government in the history of the country, international pressure -
largely from the United States and Great Britain - insisted that Mugabe's
revolutionary party be included in future elections.

After a campaign marked by intimidation from all sides, mistrust from
security forces and reports of full ballot boxes found on the road, Mugabe
was elected in 1980 to head the first government as prime minister.

Between 1982 and 1985, the military brutally crushed armed resistance in
Ndebeleland. In 1987 the position of prime minister was abolished, and
Mugabe assumed the new office of executive president of Zimbabwe, gaining
additional powers in the process. He was re-elected in 1990 and 1996, and,
controversially, in 2002.

Mugabe's Ghanaian first wife, Sally, died childless in 1992, from a chronic
kidney ailment. About two years before, Mugabe had married his former
secretary, Grace Marufu, 40 years his junior and with whom he already had
two children, in a tribal ceremony. Mugabe justified the marriage under a
traditional African law which allowed him to take a younger wife.

On Aug. 17, 1996, in his first brush with Christianity for more than two
decades, Mugabe and Marufu were married in Catholic wedding Mass. A
spokesman for Catholic Archbishop Patrick Chakaipa, who presided over the
ceremony, said the diocese saw "no impediment" to the nuptials.

When Mugabe became prime minister, approximately 70 percent of the country's
arable land was owned by approximately 4,000 descendants of white settlers.
However, he reassured white landowners that they had nothing to fear from
black majority rule. Mugabe favored, he said, a "willing buyer, willing
seller" plan for gradual redistribution of land.

In 2000, a new constitution was drawn up limiting the terms of future
presidents - but not Mugabe. It also made his government and military
officials immune from prosecution for any illegal acts committed while in
office. Also, it allowed the government to confiscate white-owned land for
redistribution to black farmers without compensation. It was defeated, after
a low 20 percent turnout, by a strong urban vote.

Mugabe declared that he would "abide by the will of the people." But, almost
immediately, self-styled paramilitary forces began invading white-owned

In 2002, amid accusations of violence and claims that large numbers of
citizens in anti-Mugabe strongholds were prevented from voting, Mugabe
defeated another challenger 56 percent to 42 percent. Mugabe was helped by
an unprecedented turnout of 90 percent in his rural stronghold of
Mashonaland, though many suspected ballot-rigging.

Mugabe has a history of committing genocidal massacres. From 1982 to 1983,
the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade, composed of ethnic Shonas, murdered
between 2,000 and 8,000 Ndebele in Matabeleland, according to a 2001
investigative report of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in
Zimbabwe and the Legal Resources Foundation of Zimbabwe.

The mass murders were assisted by Shona militias like the militias later
organized against white farmers. The crimes included mass murder of whole
villages, mass rape, and widespread torture. The victims were often forced
to sing Shona songs before being beaten and killed. No one was ever been
prosecuted for these massacres, and the commanders who perpetrated them are
now at high levels of the Zimbabwe armed forces.

Beginning just one month ago, the government of Zimbabwe began a massive
effort described by Mugabe as an "urban renewal campaign." Some 1.5 million
Zimbabweans have been left homeless as a result of hundreds of thousands of
homes being leveled by bulldozers.

It is estimated that in less than one month, Mugabe has destroyed 25 percent
of the Zimbabwe economy.

With lack of shelter and food, international observers fear a catastrophe
will ensue in the coming weeks, with up to 1.5 million starving and dying of

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Stuff, New Zealand

NZPA pulls out of Zimbabwe tour
27 June 2005

The New Zealand Press Association (NZPA) has canned plans to send a reporter
on New Zealand's cricket tour of Zimbabwe, citing visa restrictions and the
threat of censorship.

Editor Nick Brown said NZPA would still cover the tour, but would not risk
one of its own journalists being jailed or deported for doing their job in

New Zealand Cricket (NZC) has been under increasing pressure to cancel the
Black Caps' August tour.

The Government and others have cited human rights abuses under president
Robert Mugabe's regime as reason to oppose the tour.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said today New Zealand, along with Australia and
Britain, would appeal to the International Cricket Council to withdraw the
threat of a $US2 million ($NZ2.8 million) fine against NZC if the tour was

Media organisations wishing to cover the tour are required to submit the
names of journalists, passport numbers and other details to the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union, through New Zealand Cricket, to get a one-day visa.

If successful with that application, journalists must report to a ministry
on arrival in Harare and pay $US600 ($NZ862) for a government official to
decide if they can have visas to work on the cricket tour.

If they fail to secure a visa they could find themselves on the next plane
NZPA was not prepared to go through the vetting process for getting a work
visa to cover the tour under those circumstances, Brown said.

"New Zealand Cricket can't tell us exactly what the visa conditions will be,
but they are expected to require that the journalist reports only on
cricket - nothing political," Brown said.

"While we would not necessarily assign a cricket reporter to go looking for
political stories, we wouldn't expect him to ignore them if they happen
while touring with the Black Caps.

"For example, if there was an anti-government demonstration at a match or
the Black Caps shunned Robert Mugabe, NZPA would want to report that.

"If we had a journalist reporting such events from Zimbabwe he could be
jailed and deported for breaching his visa conditions, as happened to two
British journalists recently.

"But, as I understand it, there is no restriction on the Black Caps
commenting on such issues from Zimbabwe over the phone to a reporter back in
New Zealand."

As a result, New Zealand news organisations may be able to cover the tour
more effectively by staying at home, Brown said.

NZPA has covered most Black Caps tours in recent seasons.

It is arranging coverage of the Zimbabwe tour from overseas news agencies,
as well as planning to make regular phone calls to the team.

NZC spokesman Steve Addison said three New Zealand media organisations had
so far applied for visas, but he declined to name them, citing commercial

It would be "jumping the gun" to say whether reporters would be barred from
reporting on political matters, he said.

"We don't know if it's the case that visas will have any such condition on
them," he told NZPA.

"We are working through the process required to provide information to get
visas, but don't yet have clarification on what the conditions of those
visas will be."

Meanwhile, New Zealand's largest newspaper company, Fairfax, has yet to
decide whether to send journalists to Zimbabwe.

Fairfax group editor John Crowley said the company was "weighing up

"It's a changing scene, and we have many aspects to consider...

"We are aware of some unusual aspects regarding access and visas and these
have presented some challenges."

Fairfax would be considering the matter as a group in discussions, he said.

Any decision would be made on behalf of its daily and Sunday papers.

"We have not resolved not to go and we have not confirmed we will be going,"
he said.

"To us, it's bigger than cricket, and we'd like to think we could take an
attitude to newsgathering that illustrates that."
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Cape Times

      ANC 'delaying' report on Zimbabwean polls to avoid debate, says DA
      June 27, 2005

      By Christelle Terreblanche

      The ANC was deliberately delaying the release of its report on
Zimbabwe\'s elections to avoid a debate on the subject. This is the latest
charge levelled by the DA over parliament\'s controversial observer mission,
which declared Zimbabwe\'s March 31 elections \"credible, legitimate, free
and fair\".

      The ANC was deliberately delaying the release of its report on
Zimbabwe's elections to avoid a debate on the subject. This is the latest
charge levelled by the DA over parliament's controversial observer mission,
which declared Zimbabwe's March 31 elections "credible, legitimate, free and

      Roy Jankielsohn, DA member of the team of MPs who observed the
elections, said yesterday the report had been published weeks ago, but was
not discussed and parliament had closed for the next month.
      The team was wracked with internal disagreements and few opposition
members endorsed the report.

      "The situation in Zimbabwe has reached crisis proportions and it has
overwhelmed the issue of the election itself," Jankielsohn said in a

      "The DA warned in our (minority) report that reprisals could be
expected after the voting was over, but our views were ignored in the final
parliamentary report. It seems that even after our warnings have become a
reality the ANC still wishes to avoid the matter."

      Jankielsohn called last month for a debate in parliament on the
elections. Now he says that ANC Chief Whip Mbulelo Goniwe, who led
parliament's observer team, supported this motion, but has since "been
silent about his initial position and no debate has been called".

      Since the election Mugabe had launched a "Drive Out Trash" campaign,
Operation Murambatsvina, destroying informal houses and businesses in urban
areas in an apparent effort to compel people to move to the rural areas.

      International human rights groups this week estimated that more than
300 000 people had been displaced.

      "It appears that the ANC has deliberately delayed releasing its report
on the Zimbabwean elections to avoid a debate," Jankielsohn said.
      "Now it has also become absolutely crucial for parliament to debate
the events that have unfolded in Zimbabwe since the elections.
      "I will be discussing this option with the DA spokesman on Africa, Joe

      Speaker Baleka Mbethe's adviser, Lulamila Mapaloma, said the report
had been received too late for the schedule.

      Mapaloma said the report would be tabled immediately parliament
reconvened in August.

      "It is regarded as very, very urgent."

      A copy of the report leaked earlier to Independent Newspapers showed
the predominantly ANC MPs found little fault with the Zimbabwe elections and
made only two recommendations. One was for more economical use of indelible

      More than 200 international non-governmental organisations have spoken
out against human rights violations in Zimbabwe in the past week at a series
of news conferences in Africa and at the UN to coincide with the
international day against torture.

      Human rights and civic groups said the campaign was "a grave violation
of international human rights law and a disturbing affront to human

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Cape Times

      Amnesty group vows to fight torture in Africa
      June 27, 2005

      By Hanti Otto

      The South African government should speak up and do something about
African countries using torture and not hide behind political phrases, said
Thabo Chelechele, network co-ordinator for the Amnesty International group
at the University of Pretoria.

      Pretoria: The South African government should speak up and do
something about African countries using torture and not hide behind
political phrases, said Thabo Chelechele, network co-ordinator for the
Amnesty International group at the University of Pretoria.

      He was speaking at yesterday's launch of Amnesty International's
tactical campaign against torture, which was held on the United Nations
International Day in support of the victims of torture. Horrific evidence of
cases of abuse emerged during the launch of the campaign, which will run
until December.

      Chelechele pointed out that most of the time the world knew about
torture in African countries and that most of the perpetrators were
officials, the government or security forces who were supposed to protect
the citizens.

      The disturbing news is that torture is found in almost all the
Southern African Development Community countries - countries which had all
signed treaties that they were against torture, he said.

      He urged the students to lobby NGOs and religious groups to join the
campaign against torture, saying they had to insist that the people who
committed these atrocities must be brought to book.

      "We can begin by standing up against torture in Zimbabwe.

      "The government says it can't interfere because it is an internal
matter. It is not. We must all protect human rights, as our government urges
so often in public. Human rights have no borders," he said.

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The Mercury

      Zimbabwe Tragedy
      June 27, 2005

      The human tragedy confronting Zimbabwe today appears, amazingly, to
escape the attention of otherwise intelligent people close to that
country\'s establishment. They brush aside worldwide protests with the
spurious argument that in demolishing more than 250 000 homes President
Robert Mugabe is simply "cleaning up" the country.

      by The Editor

      The human tragedy confronting Zimbabwe today appears, amazingly, to
escape the attention of otherwise intelligent people close to that country's
establishment. They brush aside worldwide protests with the spurious
argument that in demolishing more than 250 000 homes President Robert Mugabe
is simply "cleaning up" the country.

      The rationalisation of this brutal situation brings to mind several
parallels in history. The "separate but equal" apologists for apartheid
South Africa claimed at the time that the then government was actually doing
people a favour by demolishing their homes - ranging from shacks to brick
and mortar buildings - pending their forced move to areas "zoned for

      Just before and during World War 2 many German civilians stood by and
even defended the practice of Jews and others being driven from their homes,
often to their deaths.

      This is what happens in societies where the rule of law is at first
subtly eroded and then removed as power-crazed governments begin to think
they can solve all their problems through "human engineering" of the worst

      The fact is that few Zimbabweans today can feel secure. Unchecked by
the law heavy-handed police arrive at 3am, throw families on to the streets
and begin demolishing their homes. Spectators who protest are liable to be
the next in line for such treatment. Sadly it is the poorest and most
vulnerable families who are worst affected.

      However, the madness does not stop there. Zimbabwean women are now
being told not to wear long pants. Young people with dreadlocks are being
ordered to cut them off.

      Surely Zimbabwe, which is also facing severe food and fuel shortages,
cannot continue to endure this kind of repression. United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special rapporteur, Anna Kagamulo-Tibaijuko,
needs to do her best to drive some sense of reality into Mugabe, whom she
meets today.

      And, with such developments threatening regional stability, leaders in
Africa have to call a halt to their "see no evil" tactics.

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Financial Times

Editorial Comment

A shame for Africa
Published: June 27 2005 03:00 | Last updated: June 27 2005 03:00

It is sadly clear that no amount of media outrage will deter Zimbabwe's
government from pursuing its callous destruction of informal urban
settlements and businesses. Seven weeks after evictions began, the number of
people made homeless is reckoned to be about 200,000, with more than 40,000
arrests and some reports of deaths.

For all their protests, Britain, the US and the European Union have little
leverage left on the ageing president, Robert Mugabe. And whatever pressure
Zimbabwe's neighbours might exert they have not been ready to exercise.

The brutality of Zimbabwe's clearance campaign overshadows discussions on
Africa at the G8 summit 10 days from now. This is not because Zimbabwe
itself is among the targets for increased funding for the continent (it
receives very little aid other than humanitarian assistance, and is not on
the list for debt relief) but because Africa has failed to react.

The way the countries of Africa's southern region, especially South Africa,
in many respects the pace-setter in governance, continue to shield Mr Mugabe
is a disservice to the continent. Real efforts have been made to get to
grips with bad government. Half of Africa has signed up to be scrutinised
through peer reviews. The African Union, vested with unprecedented powers to
intervene, took a firm stance to stop an outright power-grab in Togo. But it
has not challenged Mr Mugabe.

Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president, is central to this failure. As a
guest at the G8 in Gleneagles, he is likely to meet some tough criticism.
While there is no reason why Britain should let the issue undermine the case
for helping other countries in Africa, there is also no reason why the G8
should let Mr Mbeki off.

Options for non-African intervention are limited. This week, the United
Nations is sending Anna Tibaijuka, head of UN-Habitat and a member of
Britain's Commission for Africa, to Zimbabwe. The Harare government has
itself called for aid. The dilemma is that while it is hard to refuse help
for the evicted any aid will also risk playing into Mr Mugabe's hands.

The Zimbabwe authorities present the clearances as part of a wider attempt
to strengthen the formal economy by cracking down on underground activities.
This may not be wholly misleading. Although some of the affected districts
are opposition strongholds, and government allies may profit by being
allowed to build on cleared land, there can be little political benefit
obtained. The outrage lies in the brutality rather than the motivation.

Some Zimbabwe business people support the policy. Other countries in the
region, which view the ruling party's heavy-handed victory in the March
parliamentary elections as strengthening Mr Mugabe's legitimacy, see no
objection. But it is deeply disturbing that they should find these methods
acceptable. Just how much more would Mr Mugabe need to do to make them
change their minds?
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Scoop, New Zealand

      Amnesty rejects claim violations internal matter
      Monday, 27 June 2005, 10:57 am
      Press Release: Amnesty International
Zimbabwe: Amnesty International rejects AU claim that violations are
'internal' matter
Amnesty International rejected claims by the African Union (AU) today that
it would not be "proper" for the AU to interfere in the "internal" affairs
of Zimbabwe.

"The people of Zimbabwe are being sold out - in the interests of a false
'African solidarity'. This conspiracy of silence amongst African leaders is
fuelling a human rights catastrophe for the people of Zimbabwe. African
solidarity should be with the people of Africa - not with governments
responsible for grave human rights violations," said Kolawole Olaniyan,
Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme, speaking from Lagos

"All AU member states have made a commitment to promote and protect the
human rights of the people of Africa. This commitment is explicitly stated
in the Constitutive Act of the AU, adopted by member states in 2000."

"The AU must take action to protect the rights of African men, women and
children. Human rights are not simply a domestic matter."

Background The AU statement was made earlier today by AU spokesman Desmond

Amnesty International, together with more than 200 African and international
human rights organizations, launched an urgent "Joint Appeal" yesterday
calling on the AU and UN to take action on the crisis in Zimbabwe.

For details of the "Joint Appeal" and a list of signatories, please see

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The Times
June 27, 2005

Asylum-seekers 'tortured' after being deported

Church leaders urge halt to repatriation of Zimbabweans as evidence grows of abuse and detention
A peaceful human rights protest was held outside Zimbabwe House in London yesterday (DAVID BEBBER)
TONY BLAIR will be sent a dossier today alleging that Zimbabweans repatriated by Britain are being tortured and jailed. Anglican and Roman Catholic church leaders joined a call at the weekend for an immediate end to the deportations. A hunger strike by Zimbabwean detainees enters its fifth day today.

Human rights groups have drawn up the dossier on victims who, they claim, were abused as soon as they arrived home. Some deportees have disappeared.

A lawyer for one refugee group said: “We just want to prove to Mr Blair the present dangers of sending home opponents of Mugabe. Their families are scared to protest because they, too, will suffer.”

The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in Harare said yesterday that it is compiling a list of recent deportees detained, beaten and interrogated on their return.

The first sign that the Home Office was beginning to shift its hardline stance came last night when a source close to the Home Secretary said that it would be guided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on whether it had become too dangerous to continue with deportations planned for this week.

But in a sign that the Government is struggling to reach a decision, Downing Street insiders said that Mr Blair would resist pressure to suspend the deportation of all asylum-seekers from Zimbabwe.

They say that the Prime Minister believes there to be plenty of other countries in the world whose regimes are abhorrent, but not everyone from those nations seeking asylum is genuinely at risk if they return home. One Downing Street official said that the Prime Minister “thinks it would be wrong to have a special moratorium for Zimbabwe. The Home Office should continue to assess each case on its merits”.

The Zimbabwe Association say that arrests have risen dramatically in the past month.

There was a dispute last night on the numbers taking part in the hunger strike. The Home Office says 41, but detainees say that there are well over a hundred.

Crespen Kulingi, a protest leader whose own deportation was suspended at the weekend, said: “We will be killed if we are sent back. Of course we want to live, but better to die with some courage and honour here rather than face Mugabe’s torturers.”

Mr Kulingi, 32, who was tortured and left for dead because of his work for the MDC party, says that hunger strikers at some detention centres are being threatened. “They are told they will be the first to be put on to a plane to Harare.”

Hilary Benn, the International Development Secretary, insisted that Britain was not putting any lives at risk. He said in a BBC television interview: “We would never send anyone back if we thought that their lives were in danger.”

A memorial service for victims of torture in Zimbabwe was held in London yesterday followed by a protest outside the Zimbabwean Embassy.

The Bishop of Dorchester, the Right Rev Colin Fletcher, said at the weekend: “I am conscious, listening to their stories, that there is a great fear amongst those facing deportation to Zimbabwe of what they will face if they return.”

The Roman Catholic Bishop of Lancaster, the Right Rev Patrick O’Donoghue, said: “I want to reinforce the call to stop all deportations or forcible return of people, at least for the moment.”

Zimbabwe accused the British authorites of racism for expelling black asylum-seekers.


  • The Government has accelerated the number of failed Zimbabwean asylum-seekers being deported from Britain after a decision to end a ban on forced removals.

  • The decision last November to scrap a two-year ban on removals to the former British colony was the signal for a drive by immigration officials to increase the numbers flown back to southern Africa en route for Zimbabwe.

  • In the first three months of this year almost as many Zimbabweans were flown out of Britain as during the whole of 2004.

  • A total of 95 failed asylum-seekers were removed between January and March, catapulting Zimbabwe for the first time into the list of the top ten nationalities removed. In all of 2004 only 105 were removed or returned voluntarily.

  • The surge of removals began in the last three months of 2004 when the number rose to 50, compared with 25 in all of July, August and September.

  • As removals have risen, the number of Zimbabweans applying for asylum has fallen after a Government decision to make everyone travelling from Zimbabwe to the UK require a visa.
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    The Times

                Letters to the Editor

                            June 27, 2005

                            Lack of international action over Zimbabwe
                            From Mr Percy S. Mistry

                            Sir, Events in Zimbabwe (letters, June 23, etc)
    argue strongly for a framework of law permitting the international community
    to remove repugnant leaderships and regimes bent on perpetrating crimes
    against humanity.

                            To stand as mute witness to what is happening in
    Zimbabwe suggests we have learnt little from history. After Sierra Leone,
    Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, how many more genocides
    are we going to tolerate?

                            Doesn't it make a sham of the focus on providing
    more aid to Africa when we cannot assure the most basic right to life, leave
    alone liberty? South Africa (obviously exercising diplomacy so quiet that
    even Mugabe is unaware of it), the Southern African Development Community,
    the African Union, the UN, EU and US all seem content to remain impotent.
    Clearly Zimbabwean democracy (like so many Afri can democracies) provides no

                            In vocabulary reminiscent of the 1930s, Mugabe
    describes his campaign against the shanty towns as removing "rubbish"
    (reports, June 16, 17 and 22). It is time to return the compliment.

                            PERCY S. MISTRY
                            (Chairman, Oxford International Group)

                            From the High Commissioner of South Africa

                            Sir, Kate Hoey's suggestion (Comment, June 16) that
    our President and Government be held responsible for Zimbabwe's domestic
    affairs is disingenuous. Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and, in keeping with
    international norms, South Africa cannot unilaterally interfere in the
    domestic affairs of that neighbouring country.

                            Ms Hoey claims that President Thabo Mbeki has
    frustrated efforts by the UN to address alleged human rights abuses in

                            On the contrary, President Mbeki engaged in efforts
    to assist the Zimbabwean Government and the opposition Movement for
    Democratic Change to resolve their differences so that they could
    concentrate on the urgent and principal task of reconstruction of Zimbabwe.

                            LINDIWE MABUZA
                            Westminster, London

                            From Mrs M. Rowberry

                            Sir, During apartheid I stopped buying South African
    produce. With the catastrophe in Zimbabwe being ignored by the current South
    African Government, once more I feel inclined to boycott their goods.

                            M. K. ROWBERRY
                            Ely, Cambridgeshire

                            From Mr Jacob P. Keet

                            Sir, It should be the United Kingdom's duty, as a
    powerful nation, to end Mugabe's tyrannical reign.

                            J. P. KEET
                            Littlehampton, West Sussex

                            From Mr Philip Prior

                            Sir, Of course Zimbabwean asylum-seekers should be
    returned (report, June 25) - with a full escort of Marines, Paras and SAS.

                            PHIL PRIOR
                            Eastbourne, East Sussex

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    The Times

                June 27, 2005

                Relatives fear for woman 'seized by Mugabe's agents'
                By Daniel McGrory and Jan Raath in Harare

                A MONTH after her forced return to Zimbabwe, Mary's family say
    they do not know where she is.
                She was arrested by British immigration officers as she arrived
    for her wedding in Manchester and was deported 48 hours later.

                An MDC supporter, Mary, who is in her late 20s, fled to Britain
    after she was abducted by militiamen from the ruling Zanu (PF) party and

                Fellow passengers on the flight to Harare helped to smuggle her
    past waiting police at the airport by wrapping her in blankets and pushing
    her in a wheelchair.

                Members of Robert Mugabe's feared Central Intelligence
    Organisation were furious that she had evaded them and raided the homes of
    her relatives, warning her family that if Mary did not surrender her parents
    would be jailed.

                For the past three weeks the former teacher has been on the run,
    moving from house to house and occasionally managing to contact family in

                Ten days ago the calls stopped. A cousin said last night: "I'm
    afraid Mugabe's agents have caught her."

                Human rights lawyers say that they will present Tony Blair with
    six other documented cases of deportees who have been jailed and tortured.

                Paul Themba Nyathi, a spokesman for the MDC, said: "The trouble
    with the British Government is that it doesn't know how paranoid Mugabe is.

                "This Government believes that anyone who has been to England
    and is deported later is either a British spy or an informer who has been
    sent back home to do espionage."

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    Zimbabweans fight on two fronts
    By Hannah Goff
    BBC News

    As scores of Zimbabwean asylum seekers go on hunger strike against deportation back to their home country, BBC News went to a London church for what was billed as a "service for victims of torture of Robert Mugabe's brutal regime".

    It may have been billed as a "service of remembrance for the fallen victims of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe".

    But this was more a demonstration of determination and an upbeat call to action.

    Picture of alleged Zimbabwean torture victim
    The Commonwealth has questioned whether people should be returned to Zimbabwe

    The service at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, in the heart of central London, was an expression of hope for a Zimbabwe where people could speak out as loudly as those singing in the congregation.

    As asylum seekers and activists chatted happily outside the church in the English sunshine - it was hard to believe they were there to commemorate lost loved ones and fight for those threatened with deportation.

    But as Eldridge Calverwell, of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Coalition, explained, said: "You don't have that same sense of oppression that you have in Zimbabwe. It's a natural human reaction, it's like a burden has been lifted from your shoulders.

    "Most of the people here have been subjected to the brutality of the regime and a lot of them have relatives who have been tortured.

    "People bear the scars on their backs and in their minds."

    People only have so much energy. How many battles can people fight at the same time
    Sarah Harland
    Zimbabwe Association

    Inside the church large photographs of bodies jagged with scars adorned the entrance.

    The names of the alleged victims featured and their dates of death were scrawled in black marker pen on sheets of card.

    Another picture showed two young black men being squashed by the boots of Zimbabwean soldiers carrying machine guns around their necks.

    For Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of Zimbabwean pressure group the National Constitutional Assembly, this stereotype of an Africa pre-disposed to violence is bizarre.

    Zimbabwean activist
    Thousands of Zimbabweans have been evicted from their homes

    He said: "Violence is not something that is instinctive in Zimbabwe.

    "We have a position that is made in some circles that's quite strange.

    "It's that aspects of violence and torture are part and parcel with the African way of doing politics," he told the service.

    Police beatings

    But if that was the case surely all the Zimbabweans in Britain and spread around the world would be violent, he said.

    "There is internal opposition to human rights abuse in Zimbabwe - a very strong opposition, political movement that says no to oppression."

    That is why Mugabe continues to use torture and fear to hold on to his power, he claimed.

    As a prominent activist for democracy, Dr Madhuku says he has experienced it first hand.

    On 4 February last year he says he was leading a demonstration of around 500 people through Harare when the police went for him.

    Eldridge Calverwell
    Around 110 failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers are held in UK detention centres

    They knocked him to the ground with a baton and started kicking him with heavy boots, he says.

    Then they piled him into an open police van and drove him around the streets publicly beating him in front of the demonstrators, he claims.

    When he resumed consciousness, he says, he found he had been dumped in the countryside where he was helped by some young villagers.

    Hunger strikes

    Dr Madhuku is in the vanguard of the fight against the deportation of failed asylum seekers who the Home Office says cannot substantiate their claims to facing persecution.

    We simply do not know if they are alive or dead
    Eldridge Calverwell
    With at least 90 Zimbabweans on hunger strike in British detention centres it is a battle which has to be won before activists can return to the fight for democracy, says Sarah Harland, of the Zimbabwe Association.

    She says: "If we can get the removals suspended than we can actually get back to doing something about the country.

    "One can spend one's life struggling against desperate legal aid restrictions.

    "People only have so much energy. How many battles can people fight at the same time?"

    Labour camps

    What of the mood of the hunger strikers?

    Mr Calverwell says: "They are ebullient in their determination to see this through. There are now 98 people on hunger strike."

    "The British government knows if everything is suppressed.

    "If the judiciary is controlled by the state, if the freedom of the press is ruthlessly suppressed, if movements are curtailed, how can anyone prove they are being persecuted?"

    Home Office ministers say there is no evidence Zimbabwean returnees are being mistreated, but Mr Calverwell says this because they are rounded up and sent to forced labour camps.

    "We simply do not know if they are alive or dead," he says.

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    The Herald, UK
    MPs hear horror of returned refugees
    MICHAEL SETTLE, Chief UK Political Correspondent June 27 2005
    MPs will hear details today of how Zimbabweans, refused refuge in Britain, have been forcibly returned to their homeland and tortured.
    The grisly tales of life under the tyrannical regime of Robert Mugabe will be recounted by London Labour MP Kate Hoey in a House of Commons debate that will, campaigners hope, pile pressure on the government to put its deportation policy on hold.
    Some refused asylum seekers, she will explain, were seized by the state police as they got off the plane and later tortured.
    "People have suffered dreadfully," the former sports minister said. "The families of these people have also suffered because they have been picked on."
    Last night, the calls for Tony Blair and Charles Clarke, the home secretary, to suspend the government's deportation policy intensified as a hunger strike by asylum seekers entered its fifth day. Dozens of Zimbabweans are refusing food in several UK immigration detention centres – none in Scotland – protesting the lifting of a ban last November that prevented them being deported against their will.
    Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, demanded all deportations to Zimbabwe be suspended. "In these dreadful circumstances, we should place all deportations to Zimbabwe on hold," he said.
    Hilary Benn, the international development secretary, stressed the government had given asylum to many Zimbabweans, but cases had to be assessed individually.
    However, he added: "We would never send anyone back if we thought their lives were in danger. And the Home Office has made it very clear that we are keeping the situation under close review and that is right and proper."
    These remarks were seized by Ms Hoey as an indication the government was preparing this week to do a U-turn on the Zimbabwean asylum seekers.
    Over the weekend, Crispen Kulinji, a 32-year-old Zim-babwean opposition politician, had his case frozen after Ms Hoey's intervention. "We would rather live, but it is better to have a dignified death here than go back to face Mugabe," said Mr Kulinji, who is continuing his hunger strike in solidarity with those still facing deportation.
    More than 15,000 Zim-babweans fled to Britain in the four years up to 2004, though only a few hundred have been granted asylum. In the first three months of this year, 95 Zimbabweans were forcibly removed and, of the 116 currently in detention, 41 are on hunger strike.
    However, the group organising the protest, the United Network of Detained Zim-babweans in the UK, puts the figure at 115. It said these included 46 women on hunger strike in Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre near Bedford, 35 at Har-mondsworth near Heathrow, and a further 18 at nearby Colnbrook.
    Nobel Sibanda, the group's spokesman, said: "They are prepared to carry on until they die with those faced with forced removal. We all face death under a dictator if we are sent back to Robert Mugabe. We know some of those sent back have gone missing. We want the British government to work with us to remove Mugabe, not work against us by locking us up."
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    The Telegraph


    Political quagmire of Zimbabwe intervention

    Sir- The British Government's non-intervention in Zimbabwe is politically
    understandable, albeit unpalatable (Letters, June 25).

    Given the absence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Tony Blair
    nevertheless justified the war on the grounds that it removed a tyrannical
    dictator. The similarities between Saddam Hussein's erstwhile regime and
    that of Robert Mugabe are clear for all to see, so one might justifiably ask
    why Mr Blair is not implementing his policy consistently and intervening in

    The essential difference is this: Iraq under Saddam was an isolated country
    with few friends. It was clear that neighbouring countries would, at best,
    be neutral if he was removed and that gave America and Britain a clear run
    to intervene.

    The position in Zimbabwe is wholly different and potentially more worrying.
    Far from condemning the atrocities perpetrated by Mugabe, there is either
    silence from neighbouring countries or implicit support. In particular,
    Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has failed in every way to criticise Mugabe's
    policies, claiming that they are an internal matter for Zimbabwe.

    Accordingly, any direct intervention by America or Britain in Zimbabwe is
    likely to meet with great hostility from many African countries, possibly
    leading to widespread cross-border conflict and the inevitable dire
    consequences for the civilian population.

    Sandy Pratt, Bromley, Kent
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    Mugabe fears 'spies' from UK

    Vikram Dodd, Michael White and Eric Allison
    Monday June 27, 2005
    The Guardian

    Robert Mugabe's government suspects that asylum seekers being sent back by
    Britain are spies, Zimbabwe's main opposition claimed yesterday.
    The claim came as the row over the UK government's policy of returning many
    refugees continued, with immigration detainees saying that they fear death
    or torture if deported.

    Under pressure the home secretary, Charles Clarke, is staging a review of
    the policy this week, but has refused to end the deportations.

    The government's claim that no one returned to Zimbabwe had been harmed was
    dismissed by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change. An MDC
    spokesman, Paul Themba Nyathi, said: "This is a paranoid state that views
    those deported from London as spies trained by the Blair government to carry
    out espionage.

    "This is preposterous, but for a government like this, with its paranoid
    tendency it is very, very likely."

    In Britain, a Zimbabwean immigration detainee insisted yesterday that those
    on hunger strike in protest at the deportation policy numbered more than the
    41 the Home Office admits to.

    Meanwhile, detainees told of their fear of being returned.

    Speaking from Yarl's Wood detention centre, near Bedford, 24-year-old Ashley
    Tshabangu said she was on the sixth day of a hunger strike and that two
    other women at the centre had been refusing food for three weeks.

    Ms Tshabangu said that in 2001 her mother was burned to death at home by
    members of the ruling Zanu-PF party.

    "My mother was a member of the MDC, that is why she was killed. The same
    thing will happen to me if I go back. That is why I am not eating. All the
    Zimbabwean women here feel the same way."

    A leader of the opposition, Crispen Kulinji, was spared from being deported
    this weekend at the last minute. Mr Kulinji, in a wheelchair from beatings
    he says he suffered at the hands of Mr Mugabe's men, had said: "I will be
    killed if I go home - it's as black and white as that."

    Another ex-detainee, Noble Sibanda, 29, who was released from detention
    three weeks ago, said: "If the British government are sincere about wanting
    to get rid of Mugabe, they should be working with those of us who want the
    same thing. By imprisoning us and returning us to Zimbabwe, they are working
    against us."

    Amid reports of a cabinet split on the issue, Downing Street and the Foreign
    Office last night threw their weight behind Mr Clarke, who has been
    criticised by church leaders and civil liberty groups.

    All three departments stressed that Britain examines each case on its merits
    and upholds the UN convention on refugees, rooted in the principle that no
    one whose life might be endangered should be sent back.

    "Tony Blair does not believe in an amnesty for Zimbabwe, he believes we
    should treat it the same as everywhere else and take every case on its
    merits," said one No 10 official.

    This week's decision on the deportations will be taken by the Home Office,
    but the Foreign Office will provide advice on safety and other conditions in

    An envoy for the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, flew to Zimbabwe
    yesterday to investigate a so-called urban renewal campaign that has
    destroyed the homes and livelihoods of between 300,000 and 1.5 million
    Zimbabweans. Hours before the arrival of Anna Tibaijuka, a state-run
    newspaper reported that the government was winding up the campaign.

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    The Herald, UK
    Blair to halt asylum cases before G8 summit
    MICHAEL SETTLE, Chief UK political correspondent
    TONY Blair will this week suspend the cases of more than 100 Zimbabwean asylum seekers – 41 on hunger strike – to avoid huge embarrassment at the forthcoming G8 summit in Scotland, a former minister suggested last night.
    Kate Hoey, who recently visited the former British colony, argued that the plight of the Zimbabweans was "messing up" the prime minister's G8 plans because it was "a nonsense" for him, on one hand, to insist poverty should become history in Africa but, on the other, to send people back to face torture and death.
    The Labour MP for Vauxhall in London, and former sports minister, said Mr Blair did not want people dying of hunger in Britain's removal centres becoming the backdrop to the Gleneagles summit. "I don't think anyone will be deported between now and the G8 summit. But that's not good enough. We want all the cases to be frozen," she said.
    "I suspect what will happen next week is that all the cases will be frozen."
    As calls grew for the deportation policy to be put on hold Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth secretary-general, urged the government to "take care" on the issue of deporting people back to Zimbabwe.
    He also warned that Africa's own failure to act on Zimbabwe could hamper a G8 deal on tackling its poverty at Gleneagles next week.
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