Friday, June 24, 2005

200 groups ask Zim to stop


Johannesburg - Over 200 African and human rights groups called on the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) on Thursday to take immediate action to stop mass evictions in Zimbabwe.

"We urge all member states of the AU and UN to ensure the relevant bodies of the two organisations take immediate and effective action — consistent with their mandate — 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," a joint statement read.

And how do they take immediate and effective action?

They urged AU chairperson and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to put the matter on the agenda of the upcoming AU assembly scheduled for Libya in July.

Oh, we'll talk about the problem next month

The group also called for the Zimbabwean government to make sure people rendered homeless had immediate access to emergency relief.

"No human being deserves to be treated in this degrading manner, especially by their own government," said Arnold Tsunga of Zimbabwe's Lawyers for Human Rights.

Government supposed to provide accommodation

Reporters at a Johannesburg press conference were shown footage of buildings being clawed at by excavation equipment, the smouldering ruins of a once-thriving market and families sleeping in the rubble of their homes in the winter cold.

Jean Du Plessis from the centre of housing rights and evictions said it was against international law to evict people without first arranging alternative accommodation.

Ah, reminds me of the Philippines....lots of laws, but enforcement is spotty, and often you can bribe the cops......

Anna Tibaijuka, the Tanzanian head of UN agency Habit, who has been despatched to Zimbabwe by UN head Kofi Annan to assess the situation, said homes for HIV positive orphans were destroyed with less than 24 hours' notice and urgent court applications to prevent this were unsuccessful.

The Zimbabwe solidarity and consultative fForum reiterated its call on South Africa's weapons company Armscor not to supply the Zimbabwe government with any equipment.

Of course, If they actually enforce the law against SAfrica supplying arms, undoubtably the company will find a way to sell thru a third big deal..

South Africa asked to step in

Hassen Lorgat called on the South African government to take action.

"We want our own government to speak out. Silent diplomacy clearly is resulting in deaths," he said.

South African news broadcasters came under the spotlight when asked how the film footage was obtained in the light of strict media laws in Zimbabwe that have limited journalists' accreditation.

The SA press is probalby in bigger trouble than Mugabe...

Presidential spokesperson Bheki Khumalo expressed irritation on Thursday at a so-called bogeyman approach being used to scare African countries into conforming with the West.

Ah, not starving their Western...

"I am really irritated by this 'kgokgo' approach," Khumalo said when approached for comment on a call by British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

He said 'kgokgo' was a Sesotho word meaning something akin to a bogeyman being used to scare children into being obedient.

"South Africa refuses to accept the notion that because suddenly we're going to a G8 summit we must be reminded that we must look good and appease the G8 leaders," said Khumalo.

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