Australia to boost relief and human rights funding for Zimbabwe

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Australia will significantly boost its support for human rights campaigners and community organisations in Zimbabwe over the next two years.

Australia will immediately provide funding of nearly $4 million for humanitarian and human rights support in Zimbabwe through the Australian Fund for Zimbabwe.

This funding provides practical support to ordinary Zimbabweans suffering under the yoke of the Mugabe regime and brings the total contribution to the Fund in 2006-07 to $6 million.

The Australian Government also expects to commit a further $12 million through the Australian Fund for Zimbabwe in 2007-08.

Australia will contribute $1 million through UNICEF to help support orphans and vulnerable children, including improving access to education and health services.

More than 200,000 households are expected to benefit from the additional $1 million that will be provided through a British-managed program to help stabilise food security and assist households in need, particularly those affected by HIV/AIDS.

We are providing $500,000 through World Vision Australia for an emergency relief project in drought-ravaged southern Zimbabwe, and $250,000 to support the continued operation of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Zimbabwe during 2007.

We will also provide $530,000 to support brave Zimbabweans working in civil society organisations to promote democracy, media freedom, and human rights. A further $500,000 will be specifically directed to improve the access of Zimbabweans to independent sources of information.

Under the disastrous rule of the Mugabe regime, ordinary Zimbabweans have borne the brunt of famine and near total collapse brought on by the regime's destructive and callous policies. More than three million Zimbabweans now rely on food distribution programs for sustenance. One-fifth of Zimbabwe's population is living with HIV/AIDS and more than 1.3 million Zimbabwean children are orphans.

Although the Australian Government has suspended development cooperation with the repressive Mugabe regime, we remain determined to assist the ordinary people of Zimbabwe.

Media contacts:

Malcolm Cole (Minister's Office) 02 6277 7500
AusAID (Public Affairs) 0417 680 590