Sunday, August 21, 2005

Amnesty group condemns Zim homeless camps


The U.N. report described dire conditions at what the Zimbabwean government had called "transit camps" for those affected by the campaign. Clearing the transit camps appeared aimed at removing "this visible evidence of what had happened," Amnesty's Gaughran told The Associated Press. "This may be an attempt to hide people away."

"It's just transferring people from a pretty dire camp to a camp that is even worse," Gaughran said.

Gaughran said aid groups had not been told of the moves and those who were able to find the twice-displaced were at first barred from Hopley Farm. She said that since the footage was shot Aug. 4, aid groups had been able to persuade the government to allow them inside.

Zimbabwean officials have said Operation Murambatsvina has been completed and they are now moving onto a rebuilding stage. Critics, though, charge the government does not have the $171 million it has pledged for reconstruction.

Gaughran said she had seen houses under construction during her trip to Zimbabwe, "but nothing on the scale that will be needed to address the scale of the homelessness that's been created."

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