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  • Operation Murambatsvina - Countrywide evictions of urban poor - Index of articles

  • UN, worried by Zimbabwe demolition, weighs action
    July 19, 2005

    Read original document on Reuters website

    UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan is "increasingly concerned" by Zimbabwe's demolition of houses in poor urban areas and preparing a plan for U.N. action, a spokeswoman said on Monday.

    The U.N. comment came days after Annan's special envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, wrapped up a visit to Zimbabwe to investigate the situation. Tibaijuka is the executive director of Nairobi-based UN-HABITAT, the U.N. Human Settlements Program.

    In a two-month crackdown, Zimbabwe's police have been razing shacks and unregistered stalls and workshops declared to be illegal in poverty-stricken settlements.

    President Robert Mugabe's government has said the demolitions were meant to clean up Zimbabwe's cities and flush out crime and illegal trading in foreign currency and other commodities in short supply.

    But aid agencies say the operation has left at least 300,000 people homeless and without income.

    Annan was "increasingly concerned by the human rights and humanitarian impact of the recent demolitions of what the government of Zimbabwe has called illegal settlements," U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

    The secretary-general will soon receive Tibaijuka's report on her investigation "and will study its contents to determine the next steps for the United Nations," Okabe said.
    Zimbabwe would be given 48 hours to respond to the U.N. report's findings before they were issued, Okabe said.

    In Brussels on Monday, Sweden said the European Union was weighing sanctions against those responsible for the crackdown, such as barring them from entering the EU or freezing any of their assets held within the 25-nation bloc.

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