Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Thousands homeless as Zimbabwe police raze shanty communities

As this report from The Guardian shows, the Zimbabwe government has embarked on a drive to crush squatters in the country's cities. Perhaps 650,000 people could become homeless in Harare if the demolitions continue (other newspapers suggest that the true number of Harare squatters is over a million.) It's a humanitarian disaster (see the Zimbabwe Star) And the government is vowing to intensify the demolition drive (see The Herald.)

Imagine having the home you have lived in for decades destroyed on a whim of the government. Squatters may be living in substandard conditions, but they are ready to work in partnership with willing governments to improve things. As the Guardian reports, thousands of families are sleeping in the open as winter sets in, taking temperatures down to 4C (39F) at night. Brutally destroying homes and telling families they should go back to the rural areas ("where they belong," Harare's top police official said) is simply bully behavior and should outrage anyone who cares about human rights.

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