Friday, June 02, 2006

Housing conditions still bad

GENEVA (Reuters) - Living conditions have worsened in Zimbabwe, where most of the 700,000 people who lost homes or businesses in mass evictions last year were still struggling to find shelter, a United Nations housing expert said on Thursday.

Miloon Kothari, the U.N. special rapporteur on adequate housing, said most of those displaced by President Robert Mugabe's May 2005 eviction campaign remained homeless, in resettlement camps or were living without food, safe water or sanitation.

"It is as bad as it can get," Kothari said.

He took aim at the international community for what he called a "shocking" lack of pressure on Zimbabwe....

"The international community seems to have forgotten the people of Zimbabwe," he told reporters at U.N. headquarters in Geneva.

The Mugabe government used police and bulldozers to demolish street stalls and residences in urban shantytowns in its "Operation Restore Order" eviction campaign.

While authorities said it was aimed at cracking down on black market activity, critics decried the evictions as part of a political swipe against the largely urban supporters of Zimbabwe's main opposition party....

"We have information that another round of evictions is imminent," he said...

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