Are we heading for another Murambatsvina?


According to Amnesty International, thousands of people within Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe face the threat of mass eviction from homes and forced removal from their market stalls. The organisation’s supporters have appealed to the authorities not to proceed with this mass
eviction.

An estimated 200 people from an informal settlement in the suburb of
Gunhill and thousands of informal traders across Harare face
being forcibly removed without being given adequate notice or any
consultation or due process.

Most of those targeted were victims of the 2005 mass forced eviction
programme, Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order), when about 900,000 men,
women and children were forced out of their homes, and often their
livelihoods.

Operation Murambatsvina

Four years on, the authorities have failed to provide an effective
remedy for  the victims, and, as a result, many continue to be at risk of being
forcibly removed from both their homes and their informal businesses.

In July 2009, the Deputy Mayor of the Harare City Council stated that
the city authorities have considered evicting people from illegal
settlements and market places to restore order. The Deputy Mayor claimed
that the targeted people were posing a health hazard and violating city
by-laws.

Amnesty International UK Campaigns Director, Tim Hancock said:

‘Hundreds of thousands of people are already suffering from being
forced out of their homes four years ago. They are still living in makeshift
houses which have no doors, windows or even roofs in some instances. The
authorities should be making every effort to ensure that these people are
properly housed, and not be sanctioning another removal of people from their
homes and their only source of income.’

‘Amnesty International is calling on the authorities in Harare to
immediately stop any pending mass evictions. They should instead make sure
that prior to any eviction no one is made homeless or vulnerable, but
instead take every appropriate measure to ensure that adequate alternative
housing or access to productive land is made available.’

To date, the recommendations made by the UN Secretary General’s
Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, Anna Tibaijuka, in Zimbabwe which were made in 2005
are still not yet fully implemented.

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