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

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Press Release

UN experts deplore Zimbabwe's campaign
of forced eviction

24 June 2005

The following statement was issued today by a group of ten-UN experts:

1. The undersigned Special Procedures mandate holders of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights are deeply concerned by the recent mass forced evictions in Zimbabwe, and related human rights violations.

2. Since 18 May 2005 Zimbabwean authorities are reported to have forcibly evicted an estimated 200,000 people from Harare and 29 other locations across Zimbabwe, with some reports stating that up to a million people may face eviction if the operation continues. On 3 June the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing issued an urgent appeal to the Government on these violations.

3. The evictions have targeted especially informal traders and families living in informal settlements, including women with HIV/AIDS, widows, children with disabilities and HIV/AIDS orphans. Many evictees, including women, are reported to have been beaten by police. The evictees have been given no prior notice, no opportunity to appeal and no opportunity to retrieve property and goods from homes and shops before their destruction. In one single eviction, carried out during the night of 26 May 2005, allegedly more than 10,000 people were forcibly driven from their homes in the informal settlement of Hatcliffe Extension in northern Harare. Government trucks have transported some people to transit camps, far away from public facilities or from any commercial or other employment opportunities. With the exception of a few inadequate transit camps, there is no evidence that the Government has explored any alternatives to the evictions or offered adequate alternative housing and most evictees have been left completely homeless.

4. On 18 June 2005, a peaceful demonstration against the evictions, organized by Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a human rights NGO, was reportedly stopped by police who allegedly arrested 29 women. This recent report comes after several years of reports of widespread violations against human rights defenders, including beatings, arbitrary arrests and detention, violations of the rights to freedom of association, assembly and expression.

5. Due to the wide-spread demolitions and displacement, there have been numerous reports of consequential interruption of already limited HIV prevention, care and treatment programmes. In a country with over 24% HIV prevalence, decreasing access to health services can severely increase mortality rates of people living with HIV as well as increase HIV transmission.

6. At 09.00 a.m. on the 23 June 2005, the mandate holders received reports of bulldozers preparing to destroy informal housing in Dzivarasikwe suburb. Later in the day such destruction was confirmed.

7. The Special Procedure mandate holders:

· Deplore and demand an end to the Government's campaign of forced evictions, and the conditions under which it has been conducted that have violated not only the rights to adequate housing but also the related rights to health, including an increase in HIV/AIDS cases, food, water, education, the right to earn a livelihood, as well as the right to physical integrity of women and other victims of violence, and the right of persons to defend human rights.
· Express their deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation of respect for civil, political, economic and social rights in Zimbabwe, and their concern that the forced evictions of so many people may soon lead to critical health and economic concerns that will be a major threat to life for the most directly affected Zimbabweans.
· Urge the Government to begin now to scrupulously meet its human rights responsibilities, particularly with regard to the situation of those people who have already been displaced, as defined in General Comment number 7 of the of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Commission on Human Rights Resolution 1993/77, with special attention to the disproportionately severe impact of forced evictions on some groups under vulnerable situations, such as women (Commission on Human Rights Resolution 2005/25).
· Call upon the Government to immediately meet its human rights responsibilities, particularly with regard to the situation of those people who have already been displaced.
· Urge the Government to reply to the Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing appeal on an urgent basis, providing detailed information on the events and on the measures taken to ensure compliance with Zimbabwe's international law obligations under the various human rights instruments it has ratified.
· Welcome the Secretary General's appointment of Ms. Anna Tibaijuka as his Special Envoy to look into the mass evictions and urge the Special Envoy to focus not only on the humanitarian situation created by the evictions but also on the grave human rights implications raised by the evictions, and Zimbabwe's legal responsibility in this regard.
· Urge the Secretary General to remain alert to the deterioration in the wider human rights situation.
· Will continue to monitor the ongoing human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

The statement was issued by Ms. Yakin Erturk, Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Ms. Charlotte Abaka, Independent Expert on Liberia, Mr. Paul Hunt, Special Rapporteur on the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health, Mr. Vernor Munoz Villalobos, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Education, Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. Manfred Nowak, Special Rapporteur on Torture, Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, Special Rapporteur on Indigenous People, Ms. Hina Jilani, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights Defenders, Mr. Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living and Ms Gabriela Pizarro, Special Rapporteur on Migrants
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Press Release No. 05/151
June 27, 2005
International Monetary Fund
700 19th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

Statement by the IMF Staff Mission in Zimbabwe

A staff mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Zimbabwe during June 13-25, 2005 in the context of the 2005 Article IV Consultation discussions and ahead of the Fund Executive Board's consideration of the issue of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal from the IMF1. It made the following statement:

"We had cordial meetings with Zimbabwe's economic team led by Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono and want to thank the authorities for facilitating our work. Our discussions focused on policies to place Zimbabwe on a path to achieve sustained growth, low inflation, and improving living standards. Output is expected to decline sharply this year, in part due to the continued difficulties in agriculture-which have been exacerbated by drought-and the intensification of foreign exchange shortages.

"The mission projects that, on the basis of present policies, the budget deficit will increase markedly in 2005, partly due to the cost of higher food imports, interest payments and higher pension costs. Together with the RBZ's substantial producer and credit subsidies, these deficits would fuel a sharp increase in money supply, and hence inflation, by end-2005. The authorities indicated their desire to address these problems by taking measures to contain further increases in the budget deficit. The macroeconomic outlook is further clouded by the gravity of the food security situation and implementation of "Operation Restore Order," which threatens to worsen shortages, contribute to lower growth, and aggravate inflation pressures.

"As indicated in previous rounds of discussions, the mission stressed that the magnitude of the economic problems confronting Zimbabwe calls for a comprehensive policy package that should include decisive action to lower the fiscal deficit, a tightening of monetary policy, and steps to establish a unified, market-determined exchange rate. The package should also include structural reforms, such as the removal of administrative controls, to ease shortages and restore private sector confidence.

"A rebuilding of relations with the international community is a critical part of the effort to reverse the economic decline. We hope the authorities will work more closely with us to formulate and implement such a policy package, which would help stabilize the economy and improve the welfare of the Zimbabwean people."

1 As of June 20, 2005, Zimbabwe's arrears to the Fund amounted to SDR 201 million (US$295 million). Compulsory withdrawal is the last step in a series of escalating measures that the IMF applies to members that fail to meet their obligations under the Articles of Agreement. On February 16, 2005 the Executive Board decided to defer for six months consideration of Zimbabwe's compulsory withdrawal, providing the country with another chance to strengthen cooperation with the Fund in terms of policies and payments.

Public Affairs: 202-623-7300 - Fax: 202-623-6278
Media Relations: 202-623-7100 - Fax: 202-623-6772
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AU inaction "distressing" says UN official

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

JOHANNESBURG, 27 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - A senior United Nations official has
described the failure of African Union (AU) leaders to intervene in the
forced eviction of informal settlers in Zimbabwe as a "distressing".

In an interview with IRIN, Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteur on the Right
to Adequate Housing with the UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), was
critical of African leaders' failure to respond to the crisis that has been
unfolding over the past five weeks.

"Influential leaders like South African President Thabo Mbeki and the
Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo could have intervened in the crisis
which has left 240,000 people homeless," he told IRIN.

AU spokesman Desmond Orjiako reportedly said last week that it was "not
proper" for the union to interfere in the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.

The eviction campaign - described officially as an attempt to rid the
capital, Harare, of illegal structures and criminal activities - has now
moved into 29 other urban centres and rural settlements, "with some reports
stating that up to a million people may face eviction if the operation
continues," said a joint statement on Friday by 10 UN experts condemning the

The Zimbabwean government had "not responded" to UNCHR's calls to stop the
campaign, said Kothari. "We [the UNCHR] are continuing to call for an
immediate halt of the evictions and the opening up of space for humanitarian
agencies to intervene. Acknowledging the crisis, the UN secretary-general,
Kofi Annan, has appointed Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of
UN-HABITAT, as his Special Envoy for Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe."

Tibaijuka arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday to assess the situation. The
official newspaper, The Herald, quoted President Robert Mugabe as saying, "I
have agreed to receive the United Nations Secretary General's special envoy
in the country, so as to enable them to understand and appreciate what we
are trying to do for our people, who deserve much better than the shacks
that are now being romanticised as fitting habitats for them."

Kothari said, "We will have to await the report from the UN envoy. We are
putting pressure on the special envoy to get the government to at least open
up the space for humanitarian agencies to intervene, to immediately attend
to the needs of the people left homeless. We also need a political
assessment of the impact of the campaign."

The Zimbabwean government was in a "state of denial", according to the
special rapporteur. "Until recently there was no acknowledgement from the
government that there was a grave crisis - there was this humanitarian
disaster unfolding - and that they needed any support. This has made it very
difficult for humanitarian agencies to assist: it is very cruel towards the
people. There is lack of access and the media is very stifled, and we are
told that the demolitions have affected areas with high population
densities, which only worsens the situation," he said.

"We need to identify those with HIV/AIDS among the people left homeless. The
evictions have targeted families living in informal settlements, which
include women with HIV/AIDS, widows, children with disabilities and HIV/AIDS
orphans. Many evictees, including women, are reported to have been beaten by
police. The evictees have been given no prior notice, no opportunity to
appeal, and no opportunity to retrieve property and goods from homes and
shops before their destruction," Kothari pointed out.

"In a country with over 24 percent HIV prevalence, decreasing access to
health services can severely increase mortality rates of people living with
HIV, as well as increase HIV transmission," he observed.

The Zimbabwean authorities had taken "grossly inadequate measures" to
provide interim settlement, the UN official added. The UNCHR had received
reports of six suicides following the demolition of settlements.

"Two of the suicides took place in rural areas, we are told, out of
desperation: they did not have land and no food. We have also received
information on the adverse situation in the villages, where there are no
adequate medical services available. We have received lots of reports of
women who were forced to give birth exposed to the winter conditions,"
Kothari said.

He urged the Zimbabwean government to communicate with the people. "The
government has to immediately draw up a framework of compensation for the
affected communities - resettlement is not enough," the special rapporteur

Kothari also called for an investigation into eviction operations carried
out by the Zimbabwean police, saying, "We have received reports that the
police has been very brutal, and demolished homes without any permits."

Although there was concern over the plight of those who had been left
homeless, he added that "it is important to remember the history of the

"Why was this situation created? People have sought refuge in the urban
centres since independence, as the government has failed to deliver on its
social policies on housing, health and employment ... so you had lots of
people living in informal settlements. The only solution for the authorities
was to adopt a heavy-handed approach to order and peace: there was no
consultation, no notice; the campaign was conducted in in a very arbitrary,
indiscriminate manner. A majority of those affected are innocent - the
actions are not rational," he said.

The Herald reported on Monday that the government had over the weekend
announced housing plans that would allow about 20,500 people to settle in

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has rejected AU's claims 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, said in a statement.

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Mugabe Blitz Tests UN Human Rights Position

Business Day (Johannesburg)

June 27, 2005
Posted to the web June 27, 2005

Tony Hawkins And Mark Turner
New York

The crisis in Zimbabwe is emerging as a crucial test of the United Nations
(UN) secretariat's resolve to tackle human rights violations when regional
powers and the security council prove unwilling to act.

UN-Habitat head Anna Tibaijuka is expected to meet Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe today to discuss an urban clean-up programme that critics say
has left hundreds of thousands destitute, but which the government claims
has slashed crime and improved hygiene.

Officials say her findings -- backed by a team of political and humanitarian
experts -- will be crucial as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan decides
whether to take a more proactive stance or revert to a more traditional
pattern of quiet long-term diplomacy that is pursued by President Thabo

UN diplomats say Annan could make a significant difference at a time when
several security council members are resisting discussion and African
leaders have rejected US and British criticism.

Reform-minded UN staffers say it is exactly the kind of situation in which
Annan should assume leadership, especially in the wake of his recent reform
proposals on human rights and the protection of civilians. Others claim
Annan has been looking for a "card of entry" for some time, but that he has
been frustrated by Mugabe's intransigence and Africa's reluctance to bow to
a perceived western agenda.

The African Union on Friday said the clean-up was strictly an internal

Zimbabwean opposition politicians and activists expect few results.

"How can Kofi Annan take effective action if this is what African leaders
believe?" a spokesman for the opposition party Movement for Democratic
Change asked. A member of Zimbabwe's Crisis Coalition said: "What can the UN
secretary-general do if African leaders continue to back Mugabe?"
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Zim: 'World must step in'
27/06/2005 17:09  - (SA)

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe was experiencing a human rights crisis that had to
be addressed by the whole world, Britain's high commissioner to South Africa
said on Monday.

Paul Boateng said in Johannesburg: "This is a human-rights crisis and it has
to be a matter of concern to us all.

"We are working alongside our partners on the continent for a resolution to
this tragic situation."

He said the situation had to be dealt with by the people of Africa.

"Its origins are complex and it requires a determined response. The solution
lies in Africa and with the people of Zimbabwe."

Britain would continue working constructively for a resolution and the
matter would "undoubtedly" come up at the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland,
next week.

"This is an issue that will be addressed by the leadership of the G8 with
the leadership of the African Union (AU)," he said.

Mbeki made position clear

Britain was a former coloniser of Zimbabwe and relations between the two
countries are strained.

Boateng said: "I am not going to anticipate what is going to be said at the
G8. I think President Thabo Mbeki made his position about Zimbabwe clear
when he met President (George) Bush."

Mbeki was quoted after that meeting as saying: "The critical challenge, as
I'm sure you are aware, is to assist people of Zimbabwe to overcome their
political problems, their economic problems and shortages because of the

What is really critically important is to see in what ways we can support
the opposition party, the ruling party in Zimbabwe, to overcome the
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Blair wants UN Security Council to debate Zimbabwe
Mon Jun 27, 2005 5:36 PM BST
By Mike Peacock

LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair called on Monday for the United
Nations Security Council to debate a housing crackdown in Zimbabwe and what
it says are wider human rights abuses, after a visiting senior U.N. official
reports back.

Zimbabwe vowed on Monday to step up a new housing programme after a
clampdown on shanty towns that has left an estimated 300,000 people
homeless, prompting an assessment visit by Anna Tibaijuka, a special envoy
of U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Tibaijuka will spend several days observing the results of "Operation
Restore Order", a clean-up campaign that has also demolished tens of
thousands of informal trading structures.

She is expected to make a report following her visit.

"That will give the Security Council an opportunity to discuss Zimbabwe and
I think we should," Blair told a news conference in his Downing Street

Western countries and organisations including Britain, the United States,
the Commonwealth and the European Union have condemned the operation, which
has claimed the lives of at least two children crushed to death in
demolished houses.

But President Robert Mugabe's government has defended the police blitz,
saying it is meant to root out black market trade in scarce foreign currency
and basic food commodities -- which had thrived in shantytowns.

"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 at the weekend.

Critics say the crackdown is retribution against urban Zimbabweans who voted
for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in recent elections,
targetting the very people who have borne the brunt of the once-rich
country's economic meltdown.


In neighbouring Mozambique, European Commission President Jose Manuel
Barroso on Monday increased pressure on African leaders to take a stance on
Zimbabwe, rejecting arguments that human rights concerns were a domestic

"The Zimbabwe issue has a dimension that is beyond the internal situation
... because there are human rights concerns", Barroso said after talks with
President Armando Guebuza.

Blair called again on Zimbabwe's neighbours to bring pressure to bear on

"The only salvation for Zimbabwe will come from the countries surrounding
Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe itself," Blair said.

"I yet again urge those countries ... and their leaders to recognise what is
happening in Zimbabwe is a disgrace. It is nothing whatever to do with old
colonial disputes with Britain. That is just a pathetic excuse from the
Mugabe government."

But Blair refused to call a halt to planned deportations of failed
Zimbabwean asylum seekers, saying to do so in a blanket way would raise a
fresh storm about Britain's asylum system which he has been accused of
allowing to run out of control.

"If we introduced a generalised moratorium ... our real fear is we will
reopen our system to the abuse we have been shutting down," he said.

More than 40 failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers have gone on hunger strike and
members of Blair's Labour party say they should not be sent home to a
country the West has condemned.

Blair said those being sent home had their applications rejected as
"unjustified" for good reasons.

"This is a system that is incredibly sensitive to signals that you send," he

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Washington Times

Report: Zimbabwe dying of hunger, AIDS
Jun. 27, 2005 at 10:52AM

As many as 4,000 Zimbabweans are dying every week from starvation and AIDS
as part of leader Robert Mugabe's forced relocation of poor people to the
      The Independent reported the figure Monday, as U.N. Special Envoy Anna
Tibaijuka of Tanzania arrived in Zimbabwe late Sunday to assess the quality
of life. However, the newspaper said her government-orchestrated tour will
not take her to the famine-stricken countryside, where Spanish physician
Pedro Porrino said most people he sees have AIDS, but die of starvation
      "Ninety percent of the people I see are HIV-infected," said Porrino.
"I am seeing men of 25 and 35 weighing 45 kilograms (100 pounds) and it's
because they have AIDS but it's also because they don't eat at all."
      In power since 1980, Mugabe has said he is pleased with the results of
the month-old relocation campaign he named Murambatsvina, which means "drive
out the rubbish" in the Shona language. So far, about 400,000 people have
fled after their homes were bulldozed or burned.

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Sydney Morning Herald

Opposition unable to stop state-sponsored violence
June 28, 2005

There is a chilling familiarity to Robert Mugabe's latest campaign to
brutally destroy livelihoods and homes. Operation Murambatsvina, a Shona
word meaning "clean out the filth", carries the sinister echo of another
cathartic-sounding action.
Gukurahundi, meaning "the wind that sweeps away the chaff before the rain",
was the euphemism Mugabe used to describe his North Korean-trained Fifth
Brigade killing more than 10,000 people of the minority Ndebele tribe, and
torturing many more, in the early 1980s.

Political rivals have never been tolerated by Mugabe. Before this year's
March election, he said he would "bury" the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change.

Murambatsvina was born less than two months later, predominantly targeting
the urban areas that voted overwhelmingly for the MDC. Mugabe had been saved
from humiliating rejection only by extensive rigging.

For the MDC, the election was a bitter blow - their third loss in five
years - that was wrought by intimidation and foul play.

Led by a former trade union chief, Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC MPs have paid a
huge price for challenging Mugabe's autocratic 25-year reign.

Of the 57 opposition politicians elected since 2000, five have died from
ailments linked to state-sanctioned torture, half have been arrested and a
quarter have survived assassination attempts.

One MP, Roy Bennett, is imprisoned without criminal charge in a lice-riddled
jail and subjected to abuse. His offence was to shove a taunting Government
MP in Parliament.

MDC is up against a foe that will act unlawfully, introduce oppressive laws
to crush dissent and use violence and torture to stay in power.

But the MDC's failing has been to miss opportunities to challenge Mugabe's
claim to legitimacy that has been endorsed by regional powers such as the
South African Government.

After enjoying intoxicating support during his election campaign, Mr
Tsvangirai failed to act decisively on the rigged result and withdrew plans
for mass demonstrations out of fear it would either flop or, to take the
other extreme, implode with public outrage.

Yet fear is what Mugabe uses to hold onto power. His latest policy,
Murambatsvina, is sounding a death knell for thousands of innocent
Zimbabweans stripped of their livelihoods and shelter during the biting
winter chill.

There are grumblings that while some MDC politicians courageously criticise
the Mugabe Government, others are too passive, willing to settle for a
comfortable life in perpetual opposition.

Being an outspoken political opponent to Mugabe would have to be one of the
worst jobs in the world, as it immediately attracts vilification and
persecution. Even in victory, the reward is responsibility for a
hemorrhaging economy.

However as more than a million Zimbabweans are being beaten into penury by
police, to do nothing will allow further state-driven calamity and
suffering, in which people will die.

In all of this there has been a group emerge in the past two years with the
raw courage needed to publicly protest against the state-sanctioned terror -
and all of its members are women.

Marching to the motto "freedom is not for free, be prepared to sacrifice",
the multiracial group call themselves WOZA, or Women of Zimbabwe Arise, and
embark on non-violent civil disobedience to condemn the Mugabe Government.
Their protests inevitably end in group arrest.

Undeterred by the filth of prison and its horrors (such as gang rapes in
adjoining cells), 30 WOZA women stood in prayerful solidarity with victims
of Murambatsvina until the police carried them away.

If their extraordinary refusal to give in did show signs of sparking a
political revolution, no doubt the Mugabe Government would order whatever
measures it took to crush these women's spirits.

But such a reaction is the sort of thing that could seriously challenge the
southern African powers to withdraw their endorsement of Mugabe, the one
external factor that provides a lifeline to his regime.

Rochelle Mutton
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Zimbabwe Diaspora Coalition statement on Operation Murambasvina

on 25/6/05 9:38 PM, Conor Walsh at wrote:

When I heard Archbishop Ncube say he is prepared to stand in front of guns I asked God to give me the opportunity to stand between him and those guns.

When I heard the sneering charge d'affaires of the Regime's London representation, Godfrey Magwenzi declare, that nobody in Zimbabwe took Archbishop Ncube seriously and that  "The sewage and filth that spills out of that man's mouth should shame and embarrass all men of the cloth," my blood ran cold.

When you want to assassinate a man you destroy his character first.

I would be very grateful if you would use your best offices to disseminate the attached statement of the Zimbabwe Diaspora Coalition expressing support for the masses of the People of God and for +Pius, a hero to many millions, wherever you see fit.

Please pray for us as we pray for you,

Conor Walsh

The Zimbabwe Diaspora Coalition is a grassroots voluntary organisation of Zimbabwean people resident in the United Kingdom.

We are a non-partisan organisation, comprising volunteers from many different civil society bodies and from all parts of Zimbabwe and we represent the concerns and aspirations of many hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans.

In response to the rapidly intensifying crisis at home we wish to make the following statement:

We recognize that the recent joint police and military operation conducted by Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF regime against the urban poor of Zimbabwe under the code name Operation Murambatsvina constitutes a sinister new development in the attempt to destroy all support for the democratic opposition.

We associate ourselves fully with the courageous activism of the mass of ordinary Zimbabweans, who have struggled with honour and dignity to live lives of human worth according to universal norms of human decency in the face of relentless State repression.

We strongly support Archbishop Pius Ncube, a hero to millions of ordinary Zimbabweans, who has characterized Murambatsvina as a campaign of State terrorism which:

3.1    Emulates the genocidal social engineering policies of the Kampuchean despot Pol Pot;


3.2     Is intended to force urban dwellers into remote rural areas far beyond the attentions of international media, where they can be controlled by repressive rural government structures using physical violence as well as the manipulation of food aid.

We are deeply concerned that in order to achieve the aim of this Operation to coerce a large proportion of the population into a state of total and abject obedience to the regime, Zanu PF is prepared to condone the possibility of mass starvation.

5. In August 2002, Zanu PF organising secretary Didymus Mutasa stated, "We would be better off with only six million people, with our own people who support the liberation struggle. We don't want these extra people."

Mutasa is now the most powerful Minister in Mugabe¹s cabinet.

We utterly reject the ludicrous claim by the Zanu PF regime that this operation is merely a Court authorized attempt to enforce municipal planning guidelines.
We reject with utter disdain the refusal of the African Union to condemn this vicious onslaught upon the sovereign people of Zimbabwe using the excuse that the AU would consider any expression of concern as a violation of Zimbabwean sovereignty.
Specifically, we view with anger the inaction and timidity of the South African government and call upon Zimbabwe¹s powerful neighbour to take immediate steps through diplomatic sanction as well as economic embargo, to:

8.1        Bring Mugabe to the negotiating table; and
8.2    to bring about the holding of free fair and peaceful elections and respect for the universal principles of the Rule of Law to allow Zimbabweans to chart their own destiny.

9.     We call upon the leaders who will attend the G8 summit to bring immediate and unanswerable pressure to bear on President Mbeki in order to achieve these objective.

The world¹s most powerful nations, to their eternal shame, have stood by and uttered platitudes in response to the deaths of millions in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the thousands of Darfur.

11. In the name of God and Man, we call upon the leaders of the G8, the most powerful interest group on Earth, to follow the demands of simple humanity and to coordinate immediate and effective action against Mugabe¹s regime before the most marginalized and contingent people on Earth, faceless people in remote parts of rural Zimbabwe, begin to die in their hundreds and then their thousands and then their hundreds of thousands

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Zimbabwe's homeless to be herded into camps
          June 27 2005 at 09:04AM

      Bulawayo - Zimbabweans are bracing for President Robert Mugabe's next
"tsunami" in the wake of Operation Murambatsvina (Clear the Trash), in which
at least 250 000 homes have been destroyed.

      Zimbabweans refer to Mugabe's campaign of destruction as a "tsunami"
because it came out of the blue and they believe another wave will follow.

      In the latest crackdown, Bulawayo police are ordering young people
with dreadlocks to cut them off and telling women not to wear trousers. The
intention is that they should look more presentable.

      After international protests, the government on Sunday declared the
"clean-up" operation over, although it had vowed earlier it would continue
until August 31.

      Newspapers have claimed 300 000 children will be unable to go to
school soon as church and charity groups are grappling with the humanitarian
crisis amid scarce resources and widespread repression.

      All eyes are on United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special
rapporteur, Anna Kagamulo-Tibaijuko, who is to meet Mugabe on Monday.
Critics say the visit will achieve nothing if Kagamulo-Tibaijuko doesn't
visit villages, churches, orphanages and shops that have been demolished.

      President Thabo Mbeki, who spoke to European Union president Jose
Manuel Barroso on Saturday about Zimbabwe, has also said he is waiting for
the special rapporteur's report.

      Meanwhile, traders and observers say the fuel crisis is the worst
Zimbabwe has experienced. Motorists have been in queues for as long as four
weeks. Even in small towns unprecedented queues have formed. Taxi fares have
quintupled and pedestrians have taken to strolling in streets devoid of

      But talk is revolving around what the "insane" government will do
next. Like the farm invasions, there has been no clear plan from the
government, other than a hastily formed committee of nine ministries. A week
ago the bureaucrats were pushed aside by the army to bring into effect
"Operation Restore Order".

      The Zimbabwe Independent reported that the army had drawn up the
agenda for the first meeting of the committee two weeks ago. Then defence
force officer Amoth Chingombe said the army was taking over.

      A huge convoy of soldiers was seen on the road between Harare and
Bulawayo at the weekend. They had brand new uniforms and new equipment.

      Part of the army's plan is to direct national youth service brigades
and the prisons service in the building of holding camps, as part of a
1-trillion Zimbabwean dollar (about R744 300) reconstruction programme.

      It is such holding camps that some Zimbabweans see as potentially the
next tsunami.

      Church leaders fear the camps may turn into permanent features,
similar to the protected villages of the Rhodesian regime, or concentration
camps like those in former Yugoslavia. Several parish priests here have
refused to hand over the hundreds of evictees they have taken into their
care and whom police want to take to such camps.

      One camp, Caledonia, outside Harare, has been trumpeted by the
government as proof of its good intentions. But the camp is surrounded by a
fence and entry is strictly controlled, says Nicholas Mukaronda, of the
National Pastors Conference. It is not nearly large enough to accommodate
all the evictees.

      Church leaders here have told police in negotiations they first want
to be assured that amenities were on the same level as the villages from
which the evictees came, that the camps would simply be transit camps, and
that the government's official "vetting procedures" would not discriminate
against the poor who had been made destitute.

      So far, says Barnabas Nqinji, a priest, the local interdepartmental
committee could only promise the city it would make available stands for
occupation by the evictees. But he says this would be absurd as it costs
40-million Zimbabwean dollars - far more than ordinary Zimbabweans' means -
for new owners to settle on such stands.

      There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, church leaders say.
A prayer day was held here on Sunday and followed a special service showing
solidarity with the evictees and held at St Mary's Cathedral on Saturday.

      At the prayer day, several victims of the "tsunami" described their
experiences at the hands of the police, while lawyers spoke about the
inability of the judiciary to provide remedies. About 1 000 people attended.

      The services, attended by Zimbabwean and South African members of the
Zimbabwe Solidarity Peace Trust, have strengthened interdenominational
solidarity and laid the groundwork for action, church leaders say.

          .. This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Times
on June 27, 2005

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EU President exerts more pressure on African leaders to act against

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      27 June 2005

      European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Monday increased
pressure on African leaders to take a stance on Zimbabwe, rejecting
arguments that human rights concerns were an internal affair.

      Reuters reported from Maputo, Mozambique that Barroso, wrapping up a
visit to Mozambique, told reporters that Africa must stand with the rest of
the world in condemning Robert Mugabe's crackdown on houses.

      Mozambican President Armando Guebuza explained to Mr Barosso the
impact the Zimbabwe crisis was having on Mozambique's economy.

      Political commentator Daniel Molokela said it is good that a neighbour
with strong ties with Robert Mugabe has come out in the open and admitted
that their country is suffering from the situation in Zimbabwe.

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UN special envoy arrives as gov't sweeps dirt under the carpet

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

      By Violet Gonda
      27 June 05

      The United Nations special envoy Mrs Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the
executive director of UN-Habitat, arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday to
investigate the government's so called clean up exercise. The envoy who has
been sent by the UN Secretary-General Mr Kofi Annan is expected to also
assess the impact and humanitarian needs left by this exercise.

      The fact-finding mission is expected to meet all stakeholders to study
the clean-up operation, after which a UN technical team is expected to make
a follow up.

      There are fears that the government is going to try and sweep its
"dirt" under the carpet and it appears that they have halted the raids
because of the UN delegation's visit.

      Not surprisingly the government has also announced, through the state
media, that it is going to embark on a housing programme. Critics say this
is a cynical ploy and an attempt by the regime to do damage control. Many
say this is an insult to the people that have lost their livelihood and that
the government should have thought about providing alternative accommodation
before the destructions.

      MDC Spokesman Paul Temba Nyathi says the opposition party is
encouraged by the envoy's statement that she will interact with all
stakeholders, as this will make it impossible for the regime to hide it's
criminal activities. He told Newsreel that civic groups and the opposition
will hopefully be able to show the mission what has been happening in the
affected areas.

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Hunger Strike

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      27 June 2005

      One of the detained Zimbabwean asylum seekers who went on a hunger
strike in the UK has collapsed from hunger. He was transferred to another
facility as this coordinated protest against the cleanup operation in
Zimbabwe continued. The detainees say it would be cruel to send anyone back
to face the suffering being caused by the destruction of homes and
businesses. The hunger strike is to also show solidarity with Zimbabweans
starving back home and to bring attention to serious abuses in the detention
centres in the UK.

      The detainees have organised themselves under the name United Network
of Detained Zimbabweans UK. Tafara Nhengu, a spokesman for the network, said
on Monday that the home office is disputing that number of detainees
participating, saying there were only 57 instead of the 104 as reported by
the network. Tafara said they coordinated with other detention centres and
have the names of everyone taking part. Asked why the home office would
choose to dispute that, he said because it would be easier to explain their
refusal to change the deportation policy if fewer people were involved.

      The hunger strike is now in its sixth day and many detainees say they
are feeling weak. As for results, there are no signs that a change is
possible. Tony Blair Monday defended the Government's decision to carry on
repatriating failed asylum seekers to Zimbabwe, despite fears that they
could face persecution if they are sent home. The Prime Minister gave
warning that allowing all claimants from Zimbabwe to remain in the UK would
wreck the Government's attempts to bring the asylum system under control.

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Fuel Crisis

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

      By Tererai Karimakwenda
      27 June 2005

      The shortage of fuel in Zimbabwe is beginning to affect the supplies
and prices of fuel in neighbouring countries. This week it was reported that
fuel prices in Mozambique went up twice in a month due to the large
quantities being bought by Zimbabweans who are taking it across the border.

      African leaders have remained quiet about the situation in Zimbabwe
and those who have commented, like Thabo Mbeki, have refused to criticise
the Mugabe regime. But as supplies of basic commodities get more and more
critical in Zimbabwe, the effects will soon give them no choice but to act
in their own self interest.

      Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said indigenous businesses are
importing fuel from other countries, but they are failing to bring in enough
to make a difference to a population that is now living without adequate
public transport.

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Government withdraws gun licences without explanation

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      27 June 2005

      The government has withdrawn firearm licences with immediate effect,
raising suspicion that it is already working on countering an armed revolt.

      Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena on Sunday urged people with
automatic weapons at their homes to surrender them at the nearest police

      These weapons include all types of rifles and an assortment of
pistols. Tension has been high in Zimbabwe since the start of operation
Murambatsvina, which has seen over a million people being made homeless by a
senseless exercise orchestrated by Zanu (PF).

      But retired army Colonel Bernard Matongo said although government has
a right to withdraw the licences, the timing of the exercise raises
suspicion that there is a threat to national security in the country.

      Police have recently been fighting running battles with residents who
were resisting the forced evictions and demolition of their homes. War
veteran and singer Dick Chingaira, otherwise known as Cde Chinx, recently
fired shots into the air to try and scare off police details who had gone to
demolish his mansion.

      This did not deter the police who reportedly asked the singer to put
down the weapon before giving him a thorough beating. A source said such
incidents where residents can pull out guns against the police can lead to a
full-scale revolt against the armed forces.

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New Zimbabwe

Blair slams door on Zimbabwe asylum seekers

By Mduduzi Mathuthu
Last updated: 06/28/2005 04:53:07
BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair has rejected growing calls to halt forced
removals of Zimbabwean asylum seekers, telling campaigners: "We are not open
for business."

Blair survived a week of relentless criticism from human rights campaigners,
MPs and the media all urging Britain not to deport hundreds of failed asylum
seekers back to Zimbabwe. Rights groups say asylum seekers face torture in
Zimbabwe, with claims that some deportees had been tortured or simply

Braving a stream of attacks on his government's policy, Blair came out
fighting on Monday. He said allowing Zimbabweans to stay while deporting
other nationalities would be granting special treatment, and would open the
system to abuse.

"It would send out the impression that Britain is open for business," said

On Monday, Blair came under heavy attack from a leading British newspaper
known for its anti-asylum and immigration stance. The Daily Mail which sells
two million copies daily, ran a front page headline saying: For Pity's Sake
Let Them Stay.

The paper dedicated four pages to Zimbabwean asylum seekers, accusing the
government of "wretched pretence" over the Home Office's analysis of the
situation in Zimbabwe.

"What makes matters worse is the wretched pretence by the Home Office that
these people will be in no real danger if they are sent home. It is
positively surreal. What planet are Ministers on?" the Mail said in an
editorial comment.

It added: "Mugabe's regime is an evil that this government -- supposedly so
moral, so egalitarian, so high-minded -- prefers not to confront. Having
gone to war in the Balkans, Afghanistan and Iraq, it not only fails to lift
an effective finger against Mugabe but shamefully intends to deliver his
asylum seeking opponents into his clutches. Britain will be sadly diminished
if these deportations to Zimbabwe aren't stopped."

The Mail also wrapped in its powerful columnist Melanie Phillips, a writer
who has previously formed common front with her paper to attack asylum

"This is wholly unacceptable," she wrote in her column. "It means sending
people back indiscriminately into Mugabe's terror, regardless of whether or
not they are genuine refugees, merely to stop more from coming. The
government was quick to intervene to end tyranny in Bosnia. What about
making Zimbabwe's tyranny history?"

Home Office officials said 95 Zimbabweans had been deported in the first
three months of 2005.

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Zimbabwe deportations: Your views
A young Zimbabwean girl holds a rose behind the national flag of her country, during a protest outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in central London (PA)
Should the Zimbabweans that have had their UK asylum claims rejected be sent back?

Home Secretary Charles Clarke has rejected calls to stop sending back to Zimbabwe people whose UK asylum claims have failed, arguing that not all genuinely face persecution.

During the first three months of this year 95 Zimbabweans were sent home following the lifting of the ban on deportations last November.

The Conservative spokesman David Davis called the UK Zimbabwe policy a "miserable failure".

What is your reaction to the deportations? Should the deportees receive protection? Should the same asylum rules apply to all? Would halting the deportations lead to asylum abuses? Send us your views.

If you know anyone affected by the deportations and are willing to talk to the BBC News website about the situation, please include your telephone number. It will not be published. If you would like to remain anonymous please ask.

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Like the issue of domestic violence, a lot of women had to die first before the world realised that domestic violence is not an internal issue but a criminal offence
Sharon Njobo, Canada

The deportation of Zimbabweans by Britain epitomizes the double standards of all the countries that have stood by the sidelines and watched Zimbabweans being abused by the government of Robert Mugabe. Like the issue of domestic violence, a lot of women had to die first before the world realised that domestic violence is not an internal issue but a criminal offence. What is going on in Zimbabwe is not an internal affair, but a heinous crime and these deportations must stop.
Sharon Njobo, Scarborough, Canada

This is typical Britain. We care about everything on the condition it's not in our back garden. How stupid can one nation get, seriously you don't expect me to take a governments pledge against poverty serious as we turn thousands over to the poverty we are so called fighting. It's another Blair publicity stunt at the expense of the Live 8 concerts
John Gearing, St Helens, UK

It is not too long ago that Britain was told to keep out of African affairs, now we are being told to think about what is happening to Zimbabwe. Yes that is a bad situation but if we don't send these people back, how many more from Zimbabwe will make their way to the UK. Sorry but they have to be deported.
WP Derbyshire, London, UK

The unpalatable truth is that deportation of potential asylum seekers/immigrants will gain more political votes from the electorate than it will lose. Given the key purpose of any politician is to maintain or increase its party's voting power base, there should be no surprise in this move. Whether or not an application is genuine is more a matter of spin to justify the lifting of the ban.
David Naylor, Mexico City, Mexico

The African Union doesn't seem too bothered about what is going on in Zimbabwe so why should the UK? If, as Tony Blair says they are here illegally they should be deported and, who would have reason to disbelieve him?
Phil, UK

Definitely don't send them back. I know the UK can't be expected to allow just anyone in, but asylum seekers and refugees are different. If we don't want to help them here, then we should be sending in troops to bring about regime change. Is it that there is no oil there?
Gillian Wells, Hove, East Sussex

If deportations are halted that is tantamount to inviting the entire population of Zimbabwe, all 13 million of them, to come and live in the UK if they wish.
Albert, UK

I am totally ashamed by the actions of my government in sending people back to Zimbabwe. How can the government justify sending anyone back to that place now? What we see happening there, on our TV screens, is totally beyond me.
Helen S, Norfolk

Yes of course they should be sent back if their claims are rejected! The same rules should apply to everyone; we have enough abuses of our system already. Our government should concentrate on its own people before it starts worrying about all and sundry with their own governments!
NG, Brighton, UK

My advice to the UK government is this: please for God's sake accept all of those who are residing in the UK to stay cause as you may know things are not fine with the Zimbabweans. Most of them are suffering. This is why they are all seeking asylum in the UK. I advice that these people should remain and be allowed to make their living.
Francis Eesiah, Monrovia, Liberia

It is incomprehensible to me how the UK government can be so inhumane as to send these people back. Why do politicians lose their humanity when they get into office? Of course they should be allowed to stay.
Christopher Skelton, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

I think the international response to the current situation, especially from the UK and US, is nothing short of a disgrace. Would it be cynical to suggest that the disinterest is due to the fact that there is no oil in Zimbabwe?
Alan King, Cardiff, Wales, UK

While I can understand the need to deal with bogus asylum seekers, I don't see how that can apply to these people. Zimbabwe is surely a textbook example of a dangerous regime.
Andrew, Cardiff, UK

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New Zealand Herald

      Clark steps up pressure over Zimbabwe tour


      By Helen Tunnah

      Helen Clark has intensified the political pressure for the Black Caps'
cricket tour of Zimbabwe to be called off, saying there is a "groundswell"
of Kiwi opposition.

      The Prime Minister said the crisis in the rogue state ruled by Robert
Mugabe was deepening.

      The Government wants the International Cricket Council to drop its
punitive sanctions against nations pulling out of cricket tours on moral
grounds, which would allow NZ Cricket to review the August tour.

      England and Australia have been approached to join New Zealand in
asking the ICC to boycott Zimbabwe.

      Helen Clark confirmed that the Zimbabwe team is likely to be banned
from coming here in December.

      The hardening opposition to Black Caps' tour comes as NZ Cricket chief
executive Martin Snedden and the Zimbabwe Cricket Union attend the ICC's
annual meeting in London.

      He would not say how the the political intervention and signalled ban
against the Zimbabwe cricketers had affected the New Zealand officials.

      "Yes, it is an interesting one," Mr Snedden said from London. "I'll
come home and deal directly with the Government."

      If the New Zealanders do not tour Zimbabwe they face a costly
suspension from international cricket and at least a $2.8 million fine.

      Helen Clark said the Government would neither order the cricketers not
to tour, nor pay the fine if they called off the visit.

      But she made it clear the Government was against the tour, and that
public opinion appeared to oppose it.

      "I do sense quite a groundswell of opinion in New Zealand, of real
concern about New Zealand being in Zimbabwe at the present time with the
crisis deepening.

      "Two hundred thousand people having their homes bulldozed, children
killed in the rubble, to say nothing of the ongoing torture, disappearances,
suppression of judiciary, media, [and] economic catastrophe we associate
with Zimbabwe today."

      She said the Government had complete discretion over denying visas to
Zimbabwe's cricket team.

      Mr Goff has already spoken with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
and Australia's Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, about a joint approach
to the ICC, seeking a boycott of Zimbabwe. Both had indicated support, but
wanted to speak to their domestic cricket bodies.

      Mr Goff said last night that New Zealand would make its own approach
to the ICC if necessary.

      He said at some point the ICC had to realise human rights atrocities
in Zimbabwe were too great to ignore.

      Mr Straw last year made a fruitless approach to the ICC asking that
England be excused from touring Zimbabwe last December.

      That series went ahead, and pro-Mugabe regime media used the tour to
claim England cricketers were "queuing up" to give their approval.

      England's Steve Harmison refused to tour on moral grounds.

      Zimbabweans living in New Zealand have said they are afraid to speak
out against the Mugabe regime as they fear he has agents here.

      The Rev Richard Johnson, now of Invercargill but who lived in Harare
for 25 years, said they were wise to be worried. He and another Zimbabwean,
who asked not to be named, said they suspected that Mugabe agents were in
New Zealand.

      Mr Johnson said the cricketers had to realise the regime would
politicise the tour.

      "The issue to me is one of morality. It is just wrong."
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U.N. Envoy Briefed, Awaits Meeting With Mugabe By Blessing Zulu
      27 June 2005

With international attention focused on the humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe,
President Robert Mugabe's office had not yet responded Monday to a request
by United Nations special envoy Anna Tibaijuka for a meeting to discuss the
five-week-long government crackdown that has left many thousands of people

The U.N. Habitat director arrived in Harare on Sunday and was to meet the
president before touring areas hit by Operation Murambatsvina, Shona for
"Drive Out Rubbish," and its predecessor, Operation Restore order, which
have drawn sharp criticism from Britain, the United States, Australia and
other countries and organizations.

Mrs Tibaijuka's spokesperson, Sharad Shankardass, said her delegation
expects to meet with Mr. Mugabe in a day or two. He said Mrs. Tibaijuka
spent Monday being briefed by Harare-based U.N. officials.

Spokeswoman Katherine Anderson of the United Nations Development Program
said Mrs. Tibaijuka also plans to meet with members of parliament, church
leaders and nongovernmental organizations providing relief to the displaced.

Mrs Tibaijuka heads a nine-member team which includes U.N. political affairs
officer Mari Yamashita and humanitarian affairs officer Alf Blikberg, as
well as six senior staff members from the Nairobi-based U.N. habitat.

Facing international scrutiny, President Mugabe has defended Operations
Restore Order and Murambatsvina as necessary to ensure public order and the
well-being of Zimbabwe's people. Harare has put out the message via the
official media that the crackdown is winding down, and will be followed by
Operation Garikai, or "Settle and Prosper." The government says that in this
phase it will build homes for those left homeless by Murambatsvina.

But Harare must still account for itself to Mrs. Tibaijuka, notes the
International Crisis Group's Johannesburg-based director for Southern
Africa, Peter Kagwanja, who says the Government will ignore the envoy at its
own peril. He told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that he is skeptical of statements from Harare to the effect that Operation
Murambatsvina is winding down.
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Fuel Crisis May Ease - But Higher Prices Ahead By Ndimyake Mwakalyele
      27 June 2005

Fuel shortages are nothing new to Zimbabweans, but the current crisis has
reached unprecedented levels. Some say there are more cars in lines for
gasoline, which extend for kilometers, than are circulating on roads.

Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch predicts that this acute fuel crisis
will continue for some time, but that fuel will become more available once
the government decides to accept fuel price increases at the retail level,
reflecting import costs. Currently fuel is selling at about Z$4,000 or about
US$0.40 per liter at the official exchange rate - though the liter price
equals less than US$0.20 at parallel market rates..

Dr. Bloch also dismissed reports that there is not enough cash in
circulation - sources told VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that some banks could
not come up with enough banknotes to meet customer demand. But he said these
were isolated incidents, and that the cause had more to do with the fuel
shortage than anything else, as some financial institutions were not
receiving deliveries of cash on schedule.

Dr. Bloch spoke at greater length about the fuel crisis and economic
conditions in an interview with reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyele of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe.
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Govt allows NGOs to assist 'clean-up' victims

[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

BULAWAYO, 27 Jun 2005 (IRIN) - The Zimbabwean government has agreed to allow
aid groups to offer humanitarian assistance to the hundreds of thousands of
people being displaced in its controversial urban clean-up drive.

Authorities previously said the government had ample resources to cater to
the needs of evicted families, but Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo
has now announced that the government had resolved to allow donors to
provide assistance, mainly in the capital, Harare, and Zimbabwe's second
city, Bulawayo.

However, Chombo stressed that the NGOs would have to adhere to certain
regulations. "Anyone with genuine intent and concern is allowed to assist,
but there are rules to be followed. Already we are working together with
organisations, such as the Red Cross, who have done a good job in converting
Caledonia Farm into a transit camp in the capital," Chombo told IRIN.

Two farms - Caledonia on the outskirts of Harare and Hellensvale near
Bulawayo - have been converted into holding camps for those whose homes have
been destroyed by the 'clean-up' operation.

Humanitarian authorities have warned that the camps lack the necessary
facilities and cannot accommodate the number of people in need of shelter.

The government started its crackdown on informal settlements and traders
four weeks ago, arguing that the exercise was meant to rid urban centres of
criminal activities.

Human rights groups and the international community have condemned the
campaign, which has left over 320,000 people homeless.

NGOs confirmed reaching an agreement with the government to provide food,
blankets, medicines and sanitation facilities in the camps.

James Elder, a UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) spokesman, told IRIN the agency
had begun offering support to those affected by Operation 'Murambatsvina'
('Drive Out Trash' in the Shona language) throughout the country and that
they were particularly concerned about the plight of children, most of whom
have been unable to attend school.

UNICEF has established access to most 'clean-up' sites across the country
and, in cooperation with various government ministries and a range of NGOs,
has been distributing aid to affected women and children.

"There is a lot of work we are doing throughout the country that includes
disbursing blankets, putting up sanitary facilities, [providing] sleeping
tents and [addressing the needs] of children," Elder said.

UNICEF has appealed for more than $2.7 million to continue its existing
activities, as well as to expand healthcare, deliver urgently needed
non-food items, provide HIV prevention and care, and place social workers in
key areas of the country as it steps up support to the thousands of children
evicted from their homes.

"Many children are now without shelter during winter, others have been
separated from their parents and caregivers, schooling has been widely
disrupted, access to water is difficult, and respiratory infections and
diarrhoeal diseases are a real threat," said Dr. Festo Kavishe, UNICEF's
representative in Zimbabwe.

A government official, Ephraim Masawi, told state radio on Thursday that
more holding camps would be set up across the country and a brigade of the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) had been formed to begin constructing houses
for displaced families.

According to the police, families would only be accommodated in the holding
camps for a month while they either searched for proper accommodation in the
townships or returned to their rural homes.

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Zimbabwe vows to act on housing issue
          June 27 2005 at 04:38PM

      Harare - Zimbabwe vowed to step up a new housing programme on Monday
after a crackdown on illegal structures that has left an estimated 300 000
people homeless, prompting an assessment visit by a top United Nations

      "(The) government is urgently inviting qualified personnel and private
suppliers of building material to start construction work on allocated
stands as the national housing programme gathers momentum," the official
Herald newspaper said.

      "The move is meant to provide immediate housing to thousands of people
legally allocated stands on the heels of (the crackdown) as the state sets
sight on obliterating the two million housing backlog by 2010."

      Officials said Anna Tibaijuka, a special envoy of UN Secretary-General
Kofi Annan, was meeting with UN officials at the start of a mission to
assess the impact of the crackdown, which has prompted an international

      Mugabe's government has in the past come under fire for dragging its
feet in addressing a housing crunch, with officials saying the capital
Harare alone has a waiting list of at least 800 000.

      Tibaijuka, the executive director of UN-HABITAT, the global body's
housing agency, arrived in Harare on Sunday and will spend several days
observing the results of "Operation Restore Order," a clean-up campaign that
has also demolished tens of thousands of informal trading structures.

      On Monday UN officials in Harare said Tibaijuka, who is expected to
make a report following her visit, would likely meet Mugabe either later on
Monday or on Tuesday.

      Western countries and organisations including Britain, the United
States, the Commonwealth and the European Union have criticised the
operation, which has claimed the lives of at least two children crushed to
death in demolished houses.

      Aid agencies have estimated that 300 000 people have been made
homeless by the operation, while other estimates are even higher.

      But Mugabe's government has defended the police blitz, saying it is
meant to root out black market trade in scarce foreign currency and basic
food commodities - which had thrived in shantytowns.

      "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 at the weekend.

      Critics say the crackdown has added pressure on poor urban dwellers
who have borne the brunt of an economic crisis widely blamed on government
mismanagement and manifesting itself in chronic shortages of foreign
currency, high inflation and unemployment of over 70 percent.

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