Zimbabwe Created Its own Crises
- From: WWW.AfricanCrisis.Org
[Of course. But when will Zimbabweans solve it? Jan]
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's government refuses to help hundreds of
thousands of people displaced by its forced eviction campaign and has
obstructed relief efforts by humanitarian agencies, said Human Rights
Watch on Thursday.
The 61-page report documents the government's denial of protection and
help to the displaced and criticises the international community and
relief agencies for not doing enough to ease a crisis triggered by
Zimbabwe's forced eviction campaign in May and June.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has denied any humanitarian crisis
resulted from a campaign he says was necessary to clean up his cities. He
said all those affected would be resettled in better housing.
"The Zimbabwean government has created a humanitarian crisis in which
hundreds of thousands of people are living without food, water or
shelter," Peter Takirambudde, the Africa director for Human Rights Watch
'They have abandoned people'
"Not only have the Zimbabwean authorities refused to acknowledge the
crisis, they have abandoned the men, women and children they forcibly
evicted from their homes." he added.
Without warning, Zimbabwean security forces burned, bulldozed and
destroyed the homes of people living in informal settlements in urban
centres and destroyed the kiosks of informal vendors during May and June.
Anna Tibaijuka, the UN Special Envoy dispatched to Zimbabwe to assess the
situation, estimated 700 000 people had lost their homes, their jobs or
both in the campaign she called a clear violation of international law.
She estimated 570 000 people had been displaced.
Human Rights Watch said that six months after evictions ended, hundreds
of thousands of displaced Zimbabweans still live outdoors, in rudimentary
shelters made from the debris of destroyed houses or squeezed into tiny
rooms with relatives who have agreed to house them.
Lance Lattig, a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch, said UN agencies,
The African Union, and donors have been "reluctant to confront the
government over its blatant disregard of the human rights of the
displaced and protest the continued obstruction of humanitarian
The report said the government had deliberately obstructed efforts by the
UN, relief groups and donor countries to provide food, water and shelter
to the displaced.
The Zimbabwean government initially refused UN offers to provide
temporary shelters for families made homeless by the campaign, saying it
wanted permanent structures.
Later, though, it agreed the UN could build 2 500 shelters.
Lattig said the international community needs to put more pressure on
"We are not dealing with a tsunami here. The government is the source of
these massive human rights violations," he said.
Tiseki Kasambala, one of the authors of the report, said Mugabe seems to
be strengthening his hold on power at a time when the political
opposition in Zimbabwe is beset by infighting.
[Posted by: Regular]