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UN Envoy on Zimbabwe Evictions Continues Tour

UN Envoy on Housing Evictions Continues Tour of Zimbabwe

New York, Jul 5 2005 2:00PM

The United Nations Special Envoy looking into humanitarian aspects of the evictions of thousands of poor Zimbabweans from illegal housing and businesses today extended her visit to the southern African country by almost a week until Friday and was setting out for the southern African country's second city.

On her way to Bulawayo by road, Special Envoy Anna Tibaijuka, who is also the Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), was scheduled to stop in Midlands Province. She also planned to visit the western Victoria Falls district, her agency said.

Ms. Tibaijuka, who arrived on 26 June for about a week, has been reviewing the government's arrangements for the displaced, its provision of alternative housing and basic needs during the southern African winter, as well as the response of UN agencies in the country, it said.

Last week, the Special Envoy met with Zimbabwe's Ministerial Task Force coordinating Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Restore Order) and was present at the official launch at Whitecliff Farm of the new GariKai housing reconstruction programme. She was shown many resettlement sites the government and local authorities had prepared for new homes and markets.

She talked with local authority officials and the affected communities in Headlands and Rusape, as well as in Mutare. She also held talks with Manicaland Province Governor Tinaye Chigudu and talked to displaced families camped in a local sports ground.

Mrs. Tibaijuka has been hearing reports from ordinary citizens and representatives of faith-based organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). In the capital, Harare, she met with international and local NGOs and women's groups as she visited sites where people has been evicted, such as Mbare, Hatcliffe Extension and Porta Farm.

Ten United Nations Special Rapporteurs on several human freedoms and rights issued a 24 June statement expressing concern about the "recent mass forced evictions in Zimbabwe and related human rights violations" and raising questions about the negative effects on supplies of water and food, education and health care, including HIV/AIDS treatment.

ENDS

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