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UN Housing Expert To Meet Mugabe

UN Housing Expert Expects To Meet Zimbabwe's President Over Eviction Within 24 Hours

New York, Jun 28 2005

Dispatched by Secretary-General Kofi Annan to evaluate the recent evictions of some 200,000 poor people from illegal housing in Zimbabwe, the chief of United Nations agency for human settlements expects President Robert Mugabe to receive her within 24 hours, the UN spokesman said today.

As a result of an agreement between Mr. Annan and Mr. Mugabe, UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday.

"We have been informed that she will meet with President Mugabe within the next 24 hours," Stephane Dujarric told journalists at UN Headquarters. "Meanwhile, she and the UN team are continuing to map out her field visits."

Ten UN Special Rapporteurs on human freedoms and rights expressed concern yesterday about the forced evictions and related human rights violations in Zimbabwe and raised questions about the negative effects on supplies of water and food, education and health care, including HIV/AIDS treatment.

"Though the Government has pointed out that these evictions are part of a larger process of relocation that is providing the displaced people with alternative solutions, there is concern that the evictions have impacted gravely on the social and economic lives of the poor. This has led to a call to halt them by Miloon Kothari, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Housing Rights," UN-HABITAT said.

With her eight-member team, Ms. Tibaijuka was to assess the human rights impact of the evictions from illegal housing and squatter camps, known as Operation Murambatsvina, and estimate the humanitarian needs of those affected, it said.

ENDS


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