|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
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:
ˇ 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.
ˇ 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.
ˇ 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).
ˇ 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.
ˇ 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.
ˇ 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.
ˇ Urge the Secretary General to remain alert to the deterioration in the wider human rights situation.
ˇ 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
|Press Release No. 05/151
June 27, 2005
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."
on 25/6/05 9:38 PM, Conor Walsh at firstname.lastname@example.org 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,
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 Mugabešs cabinet.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. Specifically, we view with anger the inaction and timidity of the South African government and call upon Zimbabwešs 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.
10. The worldšs 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 Mugabešs 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
Zimbabwe deportations: Your views
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:
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
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
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
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.
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
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?
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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.