Statement on Zimbabwe by John Holmes, the USG for Humanitarian Affairs and ERC
'This is a deplorable decision that comes at a critical humanitarian juncture for the people of Zimbabwe. Much of the UN's own humanitarian aid in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere, is programmed through non-governmental organizations. If voluntary organizations and NGOs are not able to work, humanitarian aid for at least two million of the most poor and vulnerable of Zimbabwe's people, particularly children, will be severely restricted, although we will do our best to make up for this. I therefore strongly urge the Government to reconsider and rescind this decision as soon as possible. The organizations concerned are engaged in vital humanitarian work fully respecting the principles of impartiality and neutrality, which are fundamental to all they and we do. They need unrestricted access, and guarantees for their safety and security. That is what we will continue to seek in our contacts with the Government of Zimbabwe'.
For further information, please call: Stephanie Bunker, OCHA-New York, +1 917 367 5126, mobile +1 917 892 1679; John Nyaga, OCHA-NY, + 1 917 367 9262; Elisabeth Byrs, OCHA-Geneva, +41 22 917 2653, mobile, +41 79 473 4570. OCHA press releases are available at http://ochaonline.un.org or www.reliefweb.int.
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.