Amnesty condemns Borrowdale evictions

JOHANNESBURG - Amnesty International has condemned the forced eviction two weeks ago of 52 people from a Harare squatter camp and called on city authorities to provide alternative accommodation to the displaced who include children and women.

Police raided the informal settlement in Borrowdale suburb of the rich, burning down the squatters shacks and property, an action Amnesty said was a violation of international law. The world rights watchdog called on Zimbabweans to demand that Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and police chief Augustine Chihuri provide alternative accommodation to the evicted people, most of who are staying in the open after their homes were destroyed during the eviction.

In a statement issued from the United Kingdom last Thursday, Amnesty called on the police to halt further forced evictions of illegal settlers. “Forced evictions are a violation of international law and should only take place when there has been opportunity for genuine consultation with those affected and when appropriate procedural protections are in place,” it said.

Forced evictions are common in Zimbabwe with President Robert Mugabes brutal Operation Murambatsvina five years ago regarded as one of the worst cases of forced mass evictions over the past decade.

At least 700 000 people were left homeless in 2005 after their shantytown homes and informal businesses were destroyed by police in an operation that was roundly condemned by the international community. A special United Nations envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, sent to probe the home demolitions issued a damning report saying Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Filth) violated the rights of poor people in breach of international law.

Tibaijuka contested President Robert Mugabes claims that Murambatsvina was merely a slum clearing operation saying in her report that the campaign appeared aimed at emptying the shanty settlements of support for then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Post published in: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *