Thursday, December 01, 2005

Mugabe wins housing award


Harare - Zimbabwe was on Tuesday named one of three Housing Rights Violators in 2005, for the forced evictions carried out during Operation Murambatsvina, which left more than 700 000 people homeless and affected a further 2.4 million people. The Geneva-based Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE) awards its Housing Rights Violator Awards to three governments guilty of particularly serious and pervasive housing rights violations in the preceding year since 2002. This year, Zimbabwe shares the Violator Awards with China and the State Government of Maharashtra, India. COHRE's executive director, Scott Leckie, charged that the Zimbabwe operation was tantamount to crimes against humanity. "The mass forced evictions campaign named Operation Murambatsvina forcibly evicted more than 700 000 residents and informal traders in Zimbabwe, leaving them homeless and destitute - not because of conflict or natural disaster, but due to their own government's calculated and brutal actions," said Leckie. "It is abundantly clear that crimes against humanity have taken place in Zimbabwe in recent months, and those responsible should be held accountable and brought before the international judicial bodies to answer for these crimes," he added...


He cited Zimbabwe’s Operation Murambatsvina or “Drive Out Rubbish” campaign, which he said left more than 700,000 homeless.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has defended the drive as an urban renewal campaign.

In China, more than 40 million farmers have lost their land and livelihoods in the past 20 years due to rapid industrialization and urbanization, he said.

“COHRE is particularly concerned about the forced evictions of at least 400,000 people carried out in Beijing in connection with the upcoming 2008 Summer Olympic Games,” Leckie said. “Removing people from their homes against their will is not only a human rights violation, but contrary to the Olympic spirit as well.”

Beijing has said that those whose households were relocated have been given more space than they had before.

In India, 350,000 poor people and ethnic minorities were evicted in Bombay in an effort to turn the city into a “world-class metropolis,” he said.

“The development plan calls for the reduction of slums to 10 percent of their current extent, in order to transform Mumbai (Bombay) into the next Shanghai by 2010,” he said.

“These forced evictions provide graphic evidence that the new ’world-class Mumbai’ is being constructed with complete disregard for the human rights of its poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Considering the population differences, Zim wins by a large margin...and there is no note if the people in China and India were merely thrown out or helped to quickly find new Zim they were merely thrown out...

Here is a Philippine example LINK
where many in Bulacan are being moved to allow a new railway.

One of these relocation areas is Barangay Lambakin in Marilao, Bulacan.

Municipal planning and development coordinator Hermie Bautista claimed they were the last to start but the fastest to construct the houses.

"Actually ang start relocation bandang August, na-late kami kasi we have to settle issues bago kami magsimula dito (Relocation started in August because we had to settle issues before starting)." Bautista said.

The relocation site is home to a total of 1,760 families, all residents of Marilao. Each family is given at least 32 square meters and at least P50,000 in cash.

One of the beneficiaries of the housing program is Jaime Santa Rosa. His family lived for thirty years along the PNR tracks in Barangay Tabing Ilog, Marilao, Bulacan.

A teary-eyed Sta. Rosa conveyed his gratitude to the government for giving them a better future. "Ang unang naramdaman naming nalungkot kami, s'yempre nandun na kami halos naglakihan, kaya lang ang nakakaano malalagay na kami sa tama…Ipinaglaban po kami ng aming mayor, provincial, Kongreso, sa sariling bayan kami ilagay, dun kami natutuwa, hindi kami nilagay sa ibang lugar. Marilao to Marilao din (We were sad at first but our mayor, the provincial board, Congress fought for us and put us still in Marilao)."

Sta. Rosa said the terms of payment for the land are very affordable. "Hindi po kabigatan sa amin dahil P200 lamang po, h'wag lang kaming manigarilyo, bawasan text, tong-its, kayang-kaya po namin (It's not so hard considering the amortization, which is quite low)."

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