Operation restore the right to housing in Zimbabwe
For several weeks the Zimbabwean government has carried out “Operation Murambatsvina” , which means “sweep away the garbage”, one of the largest demolition and eviction operations in recent memory.
For several weeks the Zimbabwean government has carried out “Operation Murambatsvina” , which means “sweep away the garbage”, one of the largest demolition and eviction operations in recent memory. So far, 700.000 people have been evicted in full winter conditions, but the total figure could reach 1.5 million out of a population of around 12 million inhabitants, 300,000 children forced to abandon school. In the first days there were riots which led to the arrest of about 46.000 people and the murder of several, children included.
What are the responses aimed at preventing the crimes against housing and human rights:
- Local associations and international networks are exerting some pressure. On 23 June 2005, a press conference was organized. During this press conference, a Joint Declaration was issued signed by over 200 african and international organisations.
- The Catholic Church (amongst others) is closely involved, to the point of taking some personal risk. The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference wrote a very strongly worded pastoral letter .
- Pressurised by UN-AGFE, an organization to which International Alliance of Inhabitants belong, the United Nations, after much hesitation, decided to send the director of UN-Habitat, Anna Tibajiuka, on a mission to Harare .
But that is still not enough!
It is indispensable for urban social movements and public opinion the world over to display their solidarity in a clear and forceful manner.
Thus, we urge you to support Operation restore the right to housing in Zimbabwe. We shall begin with the call by asking:
The United Nations, the African Union and the European Union to take immediate action to:
- publicly condemn Operation Murambatsvina
- supervise the respect of international norms protecting rights even with the sending of a troop of civil volunteers to help and act as mediators
- provide a forum where the Government of Zimbabwe and all the interested parts, including the recognised representatives of the inhabitants of the slums, international networks, NGOs and public agencies, can agree on the relocation of persons evicted in a manner agreed with the interested communities, can guarantee security of tenure, the setting up of Popular Funds for Land and Housing, the reform and redistribution of land and access to basic public services.
The G8 countries, the World Bank and the IMF
to block any aid or debt cancellation for Zimbabwe (4 billion USD) if Zimbabwe does not improve slums in consultation with all stakeholders, including inhabitants’ associations.
The Zimbabwean government to allocate the resources liberated from debt servicing cancellations to Popular Land and Housing Funds for the rehabilitation of local neighbourhoods and the relocation of displaced people.
Within the Zero Eviction campaign , thank to the W Nairobi W campaign , legal initiatives, protests and by bombarding the opposing parties with e-mails, we succeeded in blocking the displacement of about 300.000 people in Kenya.
This time, our struggle will be more arduous, but we believe we should try everything we can!
>>> So, show your solidarity now!
>>> Sign now to stop the eviction and restore the right to housing in Zimbabwe! Your protest will immediately strike all the counterparts' e-mail.
>>> Send this call and get it signed!
- UN Executive Report of the fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe
- Report on Zimbabwe (Amnesty International)
- Interim Report on evictions in Zimbabwe (Solidarity Peace Trust)
- Daily updates on Zimbabwe situation
- SW Radio Africa
- Update on Zimbabwe United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- View images collected by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
- More images from Borrowdale, Hatcliffe Extension and Highfield - Harare
- View images from Tafara and Mabvuku
- View images on the BBC website
- View satellite images of an area of Harare before and after Operation Murambatsvina
- View video hosted by BBC website
- Watch secret BBC filming of homes razed to the ground