Secretary-General appoints special envoy to review Zimbabwe's housing evictions

Anna Tibaijuka

20 June 2005 – Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed the chief of the United Nations programme on sustainable housing, Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka, to represent him in reviewing the humanitarian aspects of the Zimbabwean Government's eviction of illegal dwellers and informal traders, Mr. Annan's spokesman said today.

"President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe has agreed that the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General should visit the country as soon as possible to study the scope of the recent eviction of illegal dwellers, informal traders and squatters, and the humanitarian impact it has had on the affected population," Stephane Dujarric told journalists at the UN Headquarters' daily briefing.

The Executive Director of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), Mrs. Tibaijuka, will visit Zimbabwe shortly and will report on the situation, he said.

Earlier this month, Miloon Kothari, who is the Commission on Human Rights' Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, reminded the Zimbabwean authorities of their obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, which the country ratified in 1991 and which bars such evictions unless strict conditions are met.

One of the conditions is that "evictions should never result in rendering individuals homeless or vulnerable to the violations of other human rights. Governments must therefore ensure that adequate alternative housing or resettlement is available for all those affected before executing an eviction order," he said, asking the Zimbabwean Government for an urgent reply to his appeal.

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