Tragic consequences for the children of Zimbabwe’s mass evictions

For 700,000 Zimbabweans who were forced to flee their homes in 2005 during the government’s mass eviction programme Operation Murambatsvina, the trauma of the event lingers on even now. 

Six years on, and the young men and women who were children at the time of the eviction have told Amnesty how being forced to leave their homes left them without a home, often without their possessions and with little or no access to education have left them suffering long and hard consequences.  

Some children as young as 13 were forced to go to work because the evictions meant that not only homes were demolished, but also small businesses.  So parents lost their sources of livelihood meaning that they could no longer afford the school fees, cost of uniform or writing utensils.

One young woman – now 21 – told Amnesty that she opted to get married early because the alternative facing her, was sex work. Irene said: 

“I decided to get married so that I could have someone to provide for me. I could not get a job. I did not want to go into sex work like most of the girls who dropped out of school.”

Aside from the recent controversy surrounding Dale Farm – read here for Amnesty’s opinion on that –the true horrific impact of being forced from one’s home often goes unreported here in the UK (the Washington Post has today produced a great piece on Amnesty’s report).  Under-reporting enables authorities like those in Zimbabwe to get away with carrying out such human rights violations.  Today’s Amnesty’s calling on Zimbabwe to stop carrying out forced evictions in future and to ensure that at the very least provisions are made for all boys and girls in Zimbabwe to access free primary education.

For a more detailed analysis of Amnesty’s findings, click here to access the report.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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