UN Special Envoy on Zimbabwean evictions briefs Security Council

Anna Tibaijuka

27 July 2005 – The United Nations Special Envoy on housing evictions in Zimbabwe today briefed the Security Council on her two-week visit to the southern African country where the demolition of housing and markets have left some 700,000 people without homes or businesses.

UN-HABITAT Executive Director Anna Tibaijuka's closed-door briefing was followed by closed Council discussion, requested by British Permanent Representative Emyr Jones Parry.

In her report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan Ms. Tibaijuka said that the Government of Zimbabwe should stop the demolition of homes and markets, pay reparations to those who lost housing and livelihoods and punish those who, "with indifference to human suffering," carried out the evictions.

Operation Restore Order, or Operation Murambatsvina, was based on colonial-era Rhodesian law and policy that had been "a tool of segregation and social exclusion" and the Government of President Robert Mugabe should bring national laws into line with the realities of the country's poor and with international law, she said.

She told a news conference at UN Headquarters last Friday that the presence of her entourage kindled hope in those who had been evicted and her visit could be counter-productive, therefore, if the homeless people looking to the UN were not aided.

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