Zimbabwe: Thousands face mass eviction in Harare

Thousands of people across the capital of Zimbabwe face the threat of mass eviction from homes and forced removal from their market stalls, according to Amnesty International. The organisation’s supporters have appealed to the authorities in Harare 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 in Zimbabwe 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 700,000 men, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights were forced out of their homes, or away from their livelihood.

Four years on, the authorities have failed to provide an effective remedy to 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 in Zimbabwe which were made in 2005 are still not yet fully implemented.

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