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Homepage > Publication Type > Statements > Zimbabwe: Statement on Forced Evictions

Zimbabwe: Statement on Forced Evictions

  |   23 Jun 2005

Noting with grave concern the deepening humanitarian and human rights crisis in Zimbabwe, the International Crisis Group and more than 200 African and international human rights and civic groups have come together to call on the African Union and the United Nations to take action:

Over the past four weeks the Government of Zimbabwe has orchestrated the widespread forced eviction of tens of thousands of informal traders and families living in informal settlements. During these forced evictions homes have been burnt and property destroyed. Many individuals have been arbitrarily arrested, detained, fined, abducted and/or beaten. Such actions continue unabated, and with impunity.

Tens of thousands of people are now living in the open - during winter - without access to adequate shelter, food or clean water. No care has been shown for these people, many of whom are vulnerable. Thousands of children, the elderly and the ill face the prospect of disease and in some cases death from hunger, exposure and drinking unsafe water. Some of the most vulnerable are dying already.

The complete and wholesale destruction of people’s homes and livelihoods -- conservatively estimated to have affected at least 300,000 people so far -- constitutes a grave violation of international human rights law, and a disturbing affront to human dignity. There can be no justification for the Government of Zimbabwe’s action which has been carried out without prior notice, due process of the law or assurance of adequate alternative accommodation. We condemn it in the strongest terms.

The African Union (AU) and the relevant bodies of the United Nations (UN), including the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Security Council and the Secretary-General, cannot fail to act in the face of such gross and widespread human rights violations and appalling human misery. We urge the Chair of the AU and all member states to address the situation in Zimbabwe as an urgent matter at the forthcoming AU Assembly in Libya from 4 to 5 July. Similarly, the UN must act on the serious concerns raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing in respect of the ongoing and massive violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.

We welcome the appointment by the UN Secretary-General of Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, the Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, as the Special Envoy for Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe. We strongly urge the UN to ensure there is no delay in either her visit to Zimbabwe or the publication of her findings. Furthermore, in light of the scale of the humanitarian crisis and the fact that forced evictions continue, the UN must call for an end to these violations and for humanitarian assistance to be provided to all those affected.

We urge all member states of the AU and UN to ensure that the relevant bodies of the two organizations:

  • Take immediate and effective action -- consistent with their mandates -- to ensure an end to the mass forced evictions and destruction of livelihoods in Zimbabwe, including by publicly condemning these violations and calling for their immediate end.
  • Call for the Government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all those who are currently homeless as a result of the mass forced evictions have immediate access to emergency relief.
  • Call for the Government of Zimbabwe to respect the right to an effective remedy for all victims including access to justice, and appropriate reparations which can involve restitution, rehabilitation, compensation, satisfaction and guarantees of non-repetition.

Supporting Organisations

Development Workshop, Angola
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Angola
SOS Habitat

Amnesty International, Botswana
Ditshwanelo (The Botswana Centre for Human Rights)
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Botswana

Burkina Faso
Fondation Aimé Nikiema pour les Droits de l'Homme
Mouvement Bukinabè des Droits de l'Homme et des Peuples (MBDHP)
Union Interafricaine des Droits de l'Homme

Absolute Dispute Resolution
Human Rights Education Centre

Egyptian Centre for Housing Rights

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

Centre for Democratic Development (CDD)
Centre for Public Interest Law
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (Africa Office)
Media Foundation for West Africa, Ghana
People's Dialogue for Human Settlements
Third World Network Africa (TWN)

Amnesty International, Kenya
Basic Rights
Catholic Diocese of Kitale, Kenya
Chemichemi ya Ukweli
Coalition on Violence Against Women - Kenya (COVAW-K)
Hakijamii Trust 
Illishie Trust
Kenya Human Rights Commission
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programes – Pandipieri, Kenya
Kituo Cha Sheria
Shelter Forum
Umande Trust

Media Institute for Southern Africa, Lesotho

Amnesty International, Liberia
Centre for Democratic Empowerment (CEDE)

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)
Institute for Policy Interaction
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Malawi

Amnesty International, Mauritius

APFIVA, Mozambique
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Mozambique
Mozambican Action on Crime Combat and Social Rehabilitation of Prisoners
National Association of Demobilised Soldiers of Mozambique

Clement Daniels Legal Practitioners
Forum For the Future
Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation
Katutura Community Radio
Legal Assistance Centre
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Namibia
Media Institute for Southern Africa - Regional Secretariat
Namibia Non-Governmental Forum
National Society for Human Rights
The Rainbow Project
Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA)

Action Health Incorporated (AHI)
Africa Alive
African Development Network
Ama Dialog Foundation
Baobab for Women's Rights
Borno Coalition for Democracy & Progress (BORCODEP)
Care Organization Public Enlightenment (COPE)
Central Educational Services (CES)
Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG)
Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD)
Centre for Development Support Inititatives (CEDHPA)
Center for Law and Social Action (CLASA)
Centre for the Advancement of Democracy and the Rule of Law
Centre for Women Studies and Intervention (CWSI)
Child Help in Legal Defence of Rights to Education in Nigeria (CHILDREN)
Civil Liberties Organisation
Civil Resources Development & Documentation Center (CIRDDOC)
CLEEN Foundation (formerly Center for Law Enforcement & Education)
Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP)
Constitutional Rights Project (CRP)
Development Alternatives and Resource Centre
Development Concerns
Development Network Development Options for Humanity (DOH)
Freedom House
Gender and Development Action (GADA)
Gender Rights Project
General Action Against the Violation of Human and Childrens Rights (GAAVOHCR)
Girls Power Initiaitve (GPI)
Global Alert for Defence of Youth and the Less Privileged
Hope Worldwide
Human Development Initiative (HDI)
Human Rights Law Services (HURI-LAWS)
Institute for Dispute Resolution (IDR)
Institute for Human Settlement and Environment
International First Aid Society (IFAS)
International Foundation for African Children (IFAC)
International Press Centre
Journalists Against AIDS (JAAIDS)
League for Human Rights
Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)
Legal Resources Consortium (LRC)
Media Concern for Women & Children (MEDIACON)
Media Development Network (MDN)
Movement for Cultural Awareness (MOCA)
Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP)
Multimedia Centre for Democracy
NGO Guide 2000
Nigerian Network of Non-Governmental Organizations
Peace And Development Projects (PEDEP) 
People's Rights Organization
Project Alert
Save-a-Soul Foundation
Social and Economic Rights Action Center (SERAC)
Social Economic Rights Initiative (SERI)
Society for Shelter, Education, Food and Agricultural Development in Africa
West Africa Bar Association (WABA), Nigeria
West Africa Network for Peace Building (WANEP), Nigeria
Women Advocates Research & Documentation Center (WARD C)
Women Aid Collective (WACOL)
Women's Optimum Development Foundation
Youth Development Education and Leadership for Africa (YORDEL)

Amnesty International, Senegal
Convergence Africaine pour la Démocratie et les Droits Humains (CADDHU)
Organisation Nationale des Droits de l'Homme (ONDH)
Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des droits de L'homme (RADDHO)

Sierra Leone
Lawyers for Legal Aid Assistance

South Africa
Amnesty International, South Africa (AISA)
Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)
Association for Rural Advancement (AFRA)
Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
Community Law Centre
Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, South Africa
Crisis Zimbabwe Coalition, South Africa
Disabled Zimbabweans Abroad, South Africa
Free State Rural Development Association (FSRDA)
Glynn Hunters International
Heal Zimbabwe Trust (HZT), South Africa
Institute for Democracy in South Africa (IDASA)
Land Access Movement of South Africa (LAMOSA)
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), South Africa
Masisukumeni Women's Crisis Centre
Media Institute for Southern Africa, South Africa
National Land Committee (NLC)
Nkuzi Development Association
Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT), South African
National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO)
Southern African Action Network on Small Arms
Southern African Women’s Institute of Migration Affairs (SAWIMA)
Southern Cape Land Committee (SCLC) 
Support Centre – ACTION for Conflict Transformation
Surplus People Project (SPP)
TRAC Mpumalanga
Transparency International - South Africa
Transkei Land Service Organisation (TRALSO)
Treatment Action Campaign
Zimbabwe Advocacy Campaign (ZAC), South Africa
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), South Africa
Zimbabwe Human Rights Lobby Group, South Africa
Zimbabwe Liaison Office (ZLO), South Africa
Zimbabwe Political Victims Association (ZIPOVA), South Africa
Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project, South Africa

Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT)

Media Institute for Southern Africa, Swaziland

Media Institute for Southern Africa, Tanzania
Same network of NGOs/CBOs (SANGO Network)
Zanzibar Legal Services Centre

Civil Society Trade Network of Zambia
Legal Resources Foundation, Zambia
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Zambia
National Civil Society MDG Campaign
Transparency International, Zambia
Zambia Civic Education Association

Amani Trust
Amnesty International, Zimbabwe
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace
Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
Legal Resources Foundation, Zimbabwe
Media Institute for Southern Africa, Zimbabwe
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change
Southern Africa Human Rights Trust (SAHRIT)
Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)
Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and the Rehabilitation of the Offender 
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Alliance for Southern African Progress (ASAP)
Amnesty International
Association of Zimbabweans Based Abroad
Catholic Centre for International Relations
Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions
CIVICUS – World Alliance for Citizen Participation
Fahamu - Networks for Social Justice
FIAN International
Habitat International Coalition
Housing Land Rights Network, representing

Applied Research Insitute - Jerusalem, Palestine
Arcilla Research, Netherlands
Asia Eviction Watch, Philippines
Asociaciòn de Vivienda Económica (AVE), Argentina
BADIL Resource Centre for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights
Centre for Environmental Tourism Culture, Syria
Centro de Capacitación Social Ciudad de Panamá
Centro de Investigaciones CIUDAD, Ecuador
Centro de Intercambio y Servicios Cono Sur (CISCSA), Argentina
Centro de la Mujer Peruana Flora Tristan, Peru
Centro Feminista de Información Acción (CEFEMINA), Costa Rica
Coalición Internacional para el Hábitat, Mexico
Comunidades Automas, Venezuela
Coordinación Red Mujer y Habitat de America Latina, Argentina
Defence for Children International, Palestine
Egyptian Centre for the Rights of the Child
Geography Department, University of Akron, USA
Habitat International Coalition, Chile
El Instituto para la Superación de la Meseria Urbana de Guatamala
Land Centre for Human Rights, Egypt
Middle East/North Africa Program, Housing and Land Rights Network
Popular Development Centre, Palestine
Red Mexicana de Agricultura Urbana, Mexico
Rooftops Canada/Arbi International, Canada
Servicio Latinamericano, Asiático y Africano de Vivienda Popular, Chile
Shelter for the Poor, Bangladesh
South Asia Regional Program, Housing and Land Rights Network

Human Rights First
Human Rights Watch
Inter Africa Network for Human Rights (AFRONET)
International Alliance of Inhabitants (IAI)
International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute
International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
International Crisis Group
International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
Refugees International
Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE)
Safeguards International

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