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Barclays bankrolls Mugabe's brutal regime

The Sunday Times, UK
November 11, 2007

Christopher Thompson, Jonathan Calvert and Jonathan Ungoed-Thomas
BARCLAYS is bankrolling President Robert Mugabe's corrupt regime in Zimbabwe
by providing substantial loans to cronies given land seized from white

The British bank lent £750m to the country's new landowning elite in the
first half of this year, mostly through a government scheme to boost farm

This weekend Barclays was under pressure to say whether it had lent money to
five of Mugabe's ministers - each named in European Union sanctions.

The Sunday Times has established that the five have received cash for their
farms under the scheme to which Barclays is one of the main contributors.

They include Didymus Mutasa, the national security minister, who helped to
orchestrate the controversial land-grab policy that left 4,000 white farmers
without homes or livelihoods.

The country's human rights abuses have made it an international pariah.
Gordon Brown, the prime minister, has said he will boycott the EU-Africa
summit in Lisbon next month if Mugabe remains on the guest list.

Despite the worldwide condemnation, Barclays, which faced criticism for
operating in South Africa during the apartheid years, has remained one of
only a handful of banks with extensive operations in Zimbabwe. It has
recently been opening new branches in the country.

This weekend Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat MP who has a long-standing
interest in African affairs, said he would ask David Miliband, the foreign
secretary, to investigate whether the Barclays loans had breached EU
sanctions. He said: "The loans sustain the regime and individuals within the
regime and those who profited from the violent land-grab. It's morally

Many of the farms now funded by Barclays were forcibly taken by mobs
organised by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. They were distributed to leading
figures in the regime, even though the policy was intended to give farms to
landless black Zimbabweans. The beneficiaries included Mugabe himself, who
is said to have three estates.

The land-grab policy proved a disaster for agricultural production, turning
the former bread basket of Africa into a country where many people are said
to be on the brink of starvation.

To increase productivity, the government is now offering loans to farmers to
buy machinery and supplies under a scheme called the Agricultural Sector
Productivity Enhancement Facility (Aspef).

Barclays is required to finance the loans under Aspef as part of a set of
conditions laid down by the Zimbabwean government which permit it to operate
in the country, where it made £34m in profit last year. Its £750m Aspef
loans are an increase of 17% on the previous year.

At least five ministers have received loans through Aspef. They are
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, minister of information and publicity; Patrick Chinamasa,
minister of justice; Rugare Gumbo, minister of agriculture; Webster Shamu,
minister for policy implementation; and Mutasa.

Ndlovu confirmed that ministerial colleagues and other party members were
seeking the Aspef cash. "Yes, my colleagues applied and they should have
received the funding," he said.

The ministers are on a list of 131 regime figures who are blacklisted as a
result of EU sanctions on Zimbabwe. The sanctions say: "No funds or economic
resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the
benefit of people on the list]."

Barclays refused to confirm or deny whether the ministers or other
blacklisted regime figures were its customers, on the basis of client
confidentiality. The bank said it closely audited its Zimbabwe operations to
ensure no sanctions were breached.

However, a source close to the bank said he had seen Shamu's paperwork for a
Barclays loan. Farmers take out loans with individual banks through Aspef.
Among the other institutions which offer loans is Standard Chartered, a
British bank, which also refused to say whether it loaned to regime members
on the basis of client confidentiality..

Yesterday Zimbabwe opposition figures called for an investigation into how
the Barclays funds had been spent. "Barclays is giving money to this regime
and propping it up in an opaque process," said Tendai Biti,
secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change.

He said the agricultural loans were used as a "vehicle of personal wealth
accumulation for the regime".

Barclays' dealings in Zimbabwe have angered former farmers who lost their
land. Derrick Arlett-Johnson, who fled his farm in the Midlands province,
said: "They're loaning money to people who have taken something illegally.
So in fact they are assisting in a crime, in my opinion."

A spokeswoman for Barclays said the bank had operated in Zimbabwe since 1912
and had 1,000 employees and a network of 20 branches serving 150,000 retail,
business and corporate customers in the country.

"We are committed to continuing to provide a service to those customers in
what is clearly a difficult operating environment. We are also committed to
the welfare of our employees," she said.

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Talks have failed to break cycle of violence, says report

Zim Online

by Own Correspondent  Monday 12 November 2007

JOHANNESBURG - Politically motivated violence and human rights abuses are
continuing in Zimbabwe despite talks between President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party and the opposition, local human rights groups have

The groups said in a report released at the weekend that 2007 has seen the
worst violence, despite claims by Mugabe's government that reports of
politically motivated violence after March 11 - when talks with the
opposition commenced - were false.

"The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum contends that the year 2007 has been
the worst and evidence to corroborate these allegations is available," the
Forum said in its latest report chronicling cases of politically motivated
violence in the month of September.

Mugabe and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi last month dismissed as false
claims by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
that its supporters were being victimised.

The Forum brings together 17 local groups involved in human rights work and
assists victims of organised violence. It regularly publishes reports on
politically motivated violence in strife-torn Zimbabwe.

The rights coalition said while there was a dip in violence in September
compared to August, the South African-led talks between ZANU PF and the MDC
had failed to break the cycle of politically motivated violence.

"Politically motivated violence, and use of force by state security agents
in Zimbabwe continued in September albeit at reduced levels compared to
August 2007," the human rights coalition said in the report.

The Zimbabwean political parties have held several rounds of talks and last
August agreed constitutional reforms that will see parliamentary elections
brought forward by two years to be held together with presidential elections
in 2008.

But analysts say South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki should urge Mugabe to
end political violence and repeal tough security and press laws that have
hampered the opposition from carrying out its political work if next year's
polls are to be free and fair.

The Forum said the month of September was "characterised by a systematic
wave of human rights violations against various groups of citizens" with 29
cases of violations on the freedoms of association, expression and movement
being recorded.

The overall total number of cases of violations on the freedoms of
association, expression and movement recorded by the Forum from January to
September 30 stands 2 333.

A total of 86 cases were recorded in September alone for unlawful arrest and
detention against citizens who were demonstrating, attending meetings or
simply belonging to an organisation that was deemed to be propagating
information considered to be criminal by the police, the Forum said in the

The rights coalition also expressed "deep concern" at the harassment,
intimidation and torture of students for daring to question the government
on such issues as the availability, accessibility and quality of education
in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline

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Groups want perpetrators of atrocities held to account

Zim Online

by Ntando Ncube Monday 12 November 2007

JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean civic groups say perpetrators of a government
crackdown that left over 20 000 people dead in Western Zimbabwe in the early
1980s must be held accountable and be dragged to international courts to
face justice.

Speaking during the launch of a documentary, titled, "Gukurahundi: "A Moment
of Madness," in Johannesburg, South Africa at the weekend, the producer of
the documentary Zanzele Ndebele, said perpetrators of the atrocities must be
held accountable for their deeds.

Ndlovu added that President Robert Mugabe's government should also provide
financial compensation and counseling to thousands of victims who survived
the atrocities during the early 1980s.

The documentary was produced by Radio Dialogue, a community radio station
based in the second city of Bulawayo and a church group called Grace to Heal

Mugabe sent a crack army unit to crush an alleged rebellion against his rule
in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces, the bastion of support for the
late veteran nationalist Joshua Nkomo's PF ZAPU party.

The crackdown resulted in the deaths of over 20 000 minority Ndebeles,
according to a report by the Catholic Commission for Peace and Justice.

Mugabe has over the years not offered an unconditional apology over the
crackdown but has admitted that the military operation was "an act of
madness" by his government.

"We are lobbying for the perpetrators of the Gukurahundi massacre to be held
accountable for their crimes and dragged to the International Court of
Justice for crimes against humanity.

"The number of those killed during the genocide is above 20 000 because
there are many that were not accounted for during the random killings of
defenceless people during this period," said Ndebele.

The Gukurahundi massacres are still and emotive issue in Western Zimbabwe
with several political leaders from the region calling for the prosecution
of those behind the atrocities.

Fortune Sibanda, the chairperson of Radio Dialogue, said the people's wounds
are still fresh adding that the government should move quickly to provide
compensation and counseling to victims "who are still traumatised by the

"These acts should be addressed for people's wounds to be healed. People are
(still) bitter and angry over what happened during those disturbances. There
has to be compensation and counselling provided to victims who are still
traumatised by the massacres," said Sibanda. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe marks 10 years since "Black Friday"

Yahoo News

by Godfrey Marawanyika

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe marks the 10th anniversary this week of "Black
Friday," when its currency plunged a record 72 percent, an episode widely
regarded as the precursor of its subsequent economic meltdown.

Under pressure after street protests by former guerillas who were demanding
payment for their role in the 1970s liberation struggle, President Robert
Mugabe ordered unbudgeted payouts for 50,000 of the war veterans.

The local dollar fell 71.5 percent against the greenback while the stock
market crashed by 46 percent as investors rushed for the US dollar.

Since then, it's been downhill all the way, with inflation the highest in
the world at nearly 8,000 percent and widespread shortages of basic
commodities like fuel and sugar in a country that had been a regional

Emmanuel Munyukwi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE),
vividly remembers the events of November 14, 1997.

"I remember people crying on that day because then 25 to 30 percent of our
investors were foreigners and when these foreigners started offloading their
shares, our stocks got hammered," Munyuki told AFP.

He said since then, the overall value of stocks on the ZSE had been stuck at
around two billion US dollars.

"In fact, we haven't moved in real terms since that day," Munyukwi added.

Many analysts saw the events of a decade ago as a clear signal of the
government's willingness to buck the laws of economics for short-term
expediency, a trend that continues to this day.

"We have been consistently doing things economically wrong for the past ten
years," said Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch.

"It was irrelevant whether or not they (war veterans) deserved the
compensation, that wasn't the issue. It was beyond the country's means."

The crisis was triggered by the sudden depletion of foreign exchange
reserves as the 50,000 dollar (then worth 1,315 US dollars) payouts to the
veterans impaired the central bank's capacity to defend the local currency.

According to statistics by Kingdom Financial Holdings, foreign currency
reserves fell from 760 US million dollars in January 1997 to a then all-time
low of 255 million by November.

In other words, the bank could only underwrite one month's worth of imports
of all commodities by the end of the year rather than the three months'
cover it could guarantee at the start.

As well as demanding cash, the war veterans also called on government to
address the issue of land, with most farms still in the hands of the white
minority nearly two decades on from independence.

After the Svosve people invaded a white-owned farm in November, government
published the first list of farms to be compulsory purchased.

The farmers however tried to block the purchase orders in the courts as they
believed the sums on the table did not reflect the market value.

"The first published list of about 1,471 farms in November 1997, did come as
a shock to us," Trevor Gifford, vice-president of the Commercial Farmers
Union, recalled.

As the court cases dragged on, the veterans embarked on widescale invasions
in 2000. The government did nothing to stop them and later ordered the
expropriation of much of the land.

There are now about 400 white farmers still operating in Zimbabwe, down from
4,500 a decade ago.

Much of the land has fallen into disuse as the new owners often lacked the
means to farm the property. The agricultural sector, once an economic
mainstay, is a shadow of its former self.

Bloch said the land issue was handled "in a total disregard for all economic
fundmentals or principles."

Witness Chinyama, a Harare-based economist, said the government had not
learned from its mistakes of a decade ago and saw no reason why things would

"The government will continue in its combative mood," he said.

"They will continue printing money although it's inflationary ... They say
nobody is assisting us, so what do we do then?"

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JAG PR Communique - Rhinos Reward

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799 410.  If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!

Imire Safari Ranch

“What is man without the beast?
If all the Beasts were gone man would die
From Great loneliness of spirit.
For whatever happens to the beasts soon happens to man…
                                All are connected”. – Chief Seattle


Reward funding required towards the arrest and conviction of the persons
responsible for the brutal killing of our 3 Black Rhino at Imire Game Park
on the night of 7th November 2007

DJ mother of 7week old Tatenda (now Orphaned) Sprinter (father of Tatenda)
and Amber (pregnant mother and ready to give birth).
They were shot while in there bomas

In 20seconds our Black Rhino breeding stock were annihilated
Obviously the bigger the reward the better the prospects of these culprits
being brought to JUSTICE all funds will be carefully monitored and invested
until such time the reward is paid or refunded to those who have contributed

All funds made payable to Imire Game Park
Zimbank Marondera Branch A/C # 4573 399451001
Contact: Mike or Sheila Thompson,
                 John, Judy or Reilly Travers
                 Or Pete and Mandy Bibby
Imire Game Park
P Bag 3750
Phone: 022-2054
Please forward to every one every where

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Senseless killing of Zim rhinos

From The Sunday Tribune, 11 November

Myrtle Ryan

As KwaZulu-Natal celebrated the release last week of 11 black rhinos on to
community-owned land, a highly-successful project in Zimbabwe involving the
critically endangered animals was on Wednesday night dealt a death blow.
John and Judy Travers of Imire Game Farm in Wedza, near Marondera, have for
many years been heading an extensive black rhino breeding programme funded
by the Zimbabwe government. The progeny are released into the Zambezi Valley
in a successful attempt to build up the herds of the endangered species in
the wild. Imire has been in the family since World War 2. At the core of the
project are four breeding rhinos which have been supplying the new blood. It
was these animals which were shot at 9.30pm on Wednesday. Each rhino was
tended by an armed guard. According to family member Nicola Roche, members
of the Zimbabwe Army, dressed in camouflage uniforms and carrying AK-47
rifles, arrived at the lodge, where they beat up a maid and tied her up.
They then forced someone to lead them to the rhino pens, where they badly
beat up the guards protecting the animals and tied them up, said Roche. The
men then killed the rhinos, leaving a one-month-old calf as the sole
survivor. Roche said there appeared to be no motivation for this "senseless,
heinous slaughter", as all the rhino had been dehorned.

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Democracy and the Rule of Law

Mens News Daily

November 11, 2007 at 7:30 am ·

When we attained our Independence in 1980, we did so in style. Changing the
guard democratically, creating new democratic structures for the State and
local government and at the same time we preserved a well developed system
of law supported by an independent Judiciary of surprising quality and
experience. These achievements after a long drawn out civil war and decades
of abuse by successive governments that were determined to protect the
security of the State at the expense of the rights of the individual, were

Since then it has been downhill all the way. First Gukurahundi and the
smashing of Zapu as a political entity. In a savage, secret campaign over 7
years, the Zimbabwe regime under Mr. Mugabe sought to achieve total hegemony
over the political structures of the country. The rules of both democracy
and law were flaunted; the rights of millions denied, the media controlled
and manipulated and both the Judges and the international community were

Once Zapu had been silenced, the State continued its attempts to control and
silence centers of dissidence. One by one the key social institutions were
infiltrated and subdued until the number of truly independent social
institutions in the economic system or in open society at large could be
counted on the fingers of one hand. There were flashes of resistance -
Margaret Dongo, Enoch Dumbutshena, but they were soon snuffed out.

By the mid nineties only the Trade Unions and some Churches remained
independent of the State and able to express themselves in the interests of
their members and society at large. The State was arrogant and took the view
that at last it was totally in control, the one Party State had been
achieved in all but name, at the expense of both democracy and the rule of
law - the two great achievements of the liberation struggle over a 80 year

Then the MDC took shape and suddenly the world molded by Mr. Mugabe looked
threatened and fragile. The struggle against the rule of law and democratic
forces took on a new meaning and intensity. In the ensuing battle hundreds
have been murdered, millions displaced and hundreds of thousands subjected
to beatings and worse at the hands of the so-called "forces of law and
order". All the basic tenets of real democracy have been abused and
distorted as the regime sought to defend its hold on power with increasing
ruthlessness and desperation.

At first these abuses received little attention from the world community.
African leaders went one step further and tried to defend the indefensible
and the unjust activities of what had become a rogue regime in every sense
of the word. One by one the independent Jurists were dealt with to be
replaced with pliant and complacent men and women who were willing to
compromise their training and ethics for a mess of porridge.

But at last the international community came out and said; enough is enough!
Recognition was withdrawn and the regime in Harare formally defined as a
rogue regime. We are also now classified as a "failed State". But it took
the African States much longer to step up to the line and agree with their
international counterparts. Mugabe was one of their own they argued, he was
a hero of the liberation process and could not be touched. But even they
have now accepted that the Mugabe regime has gone a step too far. At the
SADC summit on the 29th March this year, that was in fact the main message
given to Mr. Mugabe behind closed doors.

At that crucial meeting the regional leaders agreed that the crisis in
Zimbabwe was home grown, had gone on long enough and had to be brought to an
end. They agreed hat the regime in Harare had to open discussions with the
much-maligned MDC and put in place arrangements for the next elections that
were scheduled for March 2008. They put South Africa in charge of the
process and gave President Mbeki their total support.

And so, in a country that still claims it is a "democracy", we have spent
the past 8 months negotiating the conditions that will allow our people the
simple right they fought for over a period of 80 years - the right to vote
under free and fair conditions for the leadership of their choice. 8 months
of tough, unrelenting, behind closed doors, negotiations to restore the very
conditions that were ours in 1980.

Even as we have been negotiating the very basic conditions that should be
the norm in any sane society, the regime has continued to pound the official
opposition to death. Our leadership has been hounded, meetings banned,
unreasonable conditions imposed on other meetings, billions of dollars of
destabilization money has been poured into the CIO for the purpose of making
our lives a living nightmare. They decided the urban worker was the enemy
and they have set about smashing what remains of the economy and driving
millions of voters out of the country. This action has been similar to a
long-range artillery barrage in advance of an infantry assault over the

Many doubt we will even get to an election - let alone have a free and fair
contest. I just want us to be able to vote in secret and without any fear of
recrimination. The people will do the rest.

As for the rule of law! You must be joking! We have a Chief Justice who
occupies a farm stolen from its rightful owners and who last week gave his
assent to the wholesale theft of private assets from farms. A Chief Justice
who pays scant regard for the welfare of his colleagues and the lower ranks
in the Judiciary. We live in a society where even if you can clearly
identify the killers and link them to an incident of political murder, no
dockets are opened and no prosecutions are mounted. Not a single political
murder since 2000 has been investigated and prosecuted - not a bad record
for a so-called system of Justice.

In fact we live in a society where the whole system of Justice has been
subverted and citizens have absolutely no recourse when it comes to the
protection of either their person or their property. In 1980 I would never
have imagined that we would be in this state of affairs some 27 short years
down the line.

Eddie Cross
Bulawayo, 11th November 2007

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Judges turn screw on white farmers

Sunday Times, SA

Sunday Times foreign desk
Published:Nov 11, 2007


Zimbabwe's Supreme Court judges this week sent fresh jitters down the spines
of the country's few remaining white farmers when they upheld the government's
right to forcibly acquire all farm equipment and machinery that belongs to
dispossessed farmers.

The decision of the Supreme Court judges - all of whom received farms under
President Robert Mugabe's controversial land grab - was hailed as a landmark
ruling by the government media.

The media celebrated the fact that Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku on
Monday dismissed a constitutional application by a former commercial farmer
who had challenged the confiscation of his equipment under a section of the
Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act.

Judge Chidyausiku, who heard the application together with four other
judges - Misheck Cheda, Vernanda Ziyambi, Elizabeth Gwaunza and Paddington
Garwe - said he had concluded that there was nothing wrong with the seizure
of equipment and farming machinery.

He said it furthered Mugabe's land reform programme and was meant to benefit
all Zimbabweans.

"It is on this basis that I am satisfied that the compulsory acquisition in
terms of the Act is, for the purpose, beneficial to the public generally or
to a section of the public," Judge Chidyausiku said.

The judgment - from judges who get farms, 4x4s, luxury sedans, laptop
computers and other perks from Mugabe - was unanimous.

The judges also dismissed the farmer's contention that the law did not
provide for adequate payment within a reasonable time of farmers having
being dispossessed .

The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) slammed the ruling as legalised theft.

"We envisage an upsurge in people taking the law into their own hands,
taking equipment, " Trevor Gifford, the union's deputy chief executive
officer, said .

a.. Meanwhile, a strike in Zimbabwe's lower courts enters its third week
tomorrow just days after Zimbabwean police arrested the bosses of the
country's few remaining independent newspapers.
Jacob Chisese, the chief executive of The Financial Gazette, and his
counterpart at The Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard, Raphael Khumalo,
were held for questioning on Friday over what police said were charges
related to the unlawful increase in the price of their publications.

The two journalists were released after being warned that they risked
prosecution for violating government policy on price controls if they failed
to revert to their old prices .

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 10th November 2007

It was the Lord Mayor's Show today - the 800-year-old procession by the new
Lord Mayor of the City of London, the financial heart of the capital. There
were 70 floats and 24 marching bands.  We at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy are not on the route of the procession but were thrilled to see the
the Household Cavalry on their proud horses pass us down the Strand on their
way home to Whitehall. They were followed by a jeep with 4 soldiers
including a black soldier who surprised us by saluting the Vigil!

We had an excellent turn-out for the occasion, despite two rival MDC
Tsvangirai meetings being held at the same time, one in Leicester and the
other in Walsall (near Birmingham).

We were pleased to learn that four of our supporters have been given their
papers allowing them to legally remain in the UK.  They include Joseph Nyoni
of Leicester who has had to live with the indignity of being tagged - fitted
with an electronic device so the Home Office could check his whereabouts.
Apparently the Home Office saw our diary reference to him on 29/09/07 and
this influenced their decision.  What it means is that these people will be
allowed to work and contribute to society both here and back in Zimbabwe
through their earnings.

Judith Todd visited us again and brought with her a petition launched by the
Royal Commonwealth Society asking that the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting in Uganda later this month should discuss Zimbabwe. This ties in
very well with our own initiative.  To sign the petition, check:

The Vigil discussed ways of raising money to send a group of Vigil activists
to protest at Mugabe's attendance at the EU / AU summit in Lisbon next
month.  One of supporters has made a generous donation which will fund
several people who cannot meet their own expenses.  If anyone wants to
contribute to helping support others our bank account details are on our
website. Click on donations in the left hand column on the front page.
(  Of course those who can afford to
pay for themselves are doing so. Our view is that it is important to show
both the Europeans and the Africans that what is happening in Zimbabwe can't
be just swept under the carpet so that leaders can enjoy their cocktails in

For this week's Vigil pictures:

FOR THE RECORD: 132 signed the register (of whom 30 people came for the
first time). At the time of the 2006 Lord Mayor's Show 53 supporters signed
in. Supporters from Banbury, Becontree, Bedford, Bournemouth, Brighton,
Cambridge, Chatham, Coventry, Crawley, Darlington, Donegal (Ireland),
Exeter, Hatfield, High Wycombe, Ilford, Kettering, Leeds, Leicester,
Liverpool, Luton, Milton Keynes, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford,
Portsmouth, Romford, Sheffield, Slough, Southampton, Southend,
Stoke-on-Trent, Tunbridge Wells, Walthamstow, Watford and many from London
and environs.

FOR YOUR DIARY:  Monday, 12th November 2007, 7.30 pm. Central London
Zimbabwe Forum. This week's forum will be a networking event.  We will be
firming up plans for the trip to Portugal and discussing how we can support
the Amnesty Stop Violence against Women Campaign. Downstairs at the Theodore
Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the
Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and
you will see the pub).

Vigil co-ordinator

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe.

You are receiving this because you have attended the Vigil or contacted the
website.  Please advise us if you wish to be removed from this list.

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Rights body urges Cape Town mayor to assist Zim refugees

Zim Online

by Ntando Ncube Monday 12 November 2007

JOHANNESBURG - A South African refugee rights body has called on Cape Town
Mayor Helen Zille and Western Cape provincial premier Ebrahim Rasool to
intervene at a local refugee office where a Zimbabwean immigrant reportedly
died while attempting to lodge an application for refugee status.

The 24-yer old Zimbabwean, Adonis Musati, is believed to have died of hunger
after spending two months sleeping at the Department of Home Affairs'
refugee reception centre attempting to lodge an application for refugee

There have also been clashes at the centre between protesting Zimbabwean
asylum seekers and local police and CORMSA said problems at the refugee
centre were because of inability by the centre to provide the required

CORMSA said: "The current crisis has been provoked by the inability of the
Cape Town Refugee Reception Office to address demand for its services. It
would be useful if either the mayor or the premier could intervene."

It was not possible to get an immediate comment on the matter from either
Zille or Rasool's offices.

More than a million Zimbabweans are estimated to be living in South Africa
after fleeing home because of political violence and economic hardships.

However, very few are officially recognised as refugees with many regarded
as illegal immigrants.

According to the United States-based Refugees International most Zimbabwean
immigrants were undocumented and constituted an invisible population in the
host countries with no access to adequate shelter or other basic facilities
sometimes even in cases were host governments were willing to provide
these. - ZimOnline

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