Government of Zimbabwe destroying informal markets and housing

Sean McCormack, Spokesman
Washington, DC
June 16, 2005

More than 250,000 people have been made homeless as a result of "Operation Restore Order," the Government of Zimbabwe's ongoing campaign to destroy informal dwellings and businesses in Zimbabwe's cities. The United States condemns the Government of Zimbabwe for these actions. They have left hundreds of thousands without shelter or income and cannot be justified.

The targets of this onslaught are the poorest of Zimbabwe's poor, who are already victimized by unemployment and food shortages. The United States Agency for International Develoment/ Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is assisting the displaced persons through an existing $1.1 million facility with the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

We call upon the Government of Zimbabwe to stop this campaign and to cooperate with international donor agencies working to provide relief to the displaced population. Zimbabwe's economic decline cannot be reversed by heavy-handed crackdowns on the poor. Zimbabwe needs dialogue among all social and political factions to overcome its political, economic and humanitarian crises, and to end its international isolation.