A Joint Appeal to African Leaders to address the human rights situation in Zimbabwe


AI Index: AFR 46/030/2005 (Public)

News Service No: 306

Through the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) African Heads of State and Government have made a commitment to human rights and accountability in Africa. We are calling on African leaders to honour these commitments and end their long silence on human rights violations in Zimbabwe.

Today in Zimbabwe, hundreds of thousands of people are internally displaced and destitute, not because of a war, an earthquake or a tsunami, but because their own government has forcibly evicted them, demolished their homes, and destroyed their property and their livelihoods. These acts, totally unjustifiable under international law, have been widely condemned. However, African States have remained conspicuously silent and have not demonstrated the political will to respond to the human rights crisis in Zimbabwe.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), Kofi Annan, has described Zimbabwe's mass evictions as "a catastrophic injustice...carried out with disquieting indifference to human suffering".

UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, Anna Tibaijuka, has reported that the government's Operation Murambatsvina directly affected 700,000 people, indirectly affected at least a further 2 million people and "has precipitated a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions".

Human rights are being further violated in the context of the humanitarian crisis. There is considerable evidence that the Government of Zimbabwe is unable or unwilling to ensure that those affected have access, at the very least, to minimum essential levels of food, water, shelter and medical care.

It is denying victims the humanitarian help they so desperately need:

a. Thousands of people, including children, the ill and the elderly, are facing the rainy season with little or no shelter. The government is not providing basic shelter for those in need, and it is blocking the UN and churches from doing so; police have forced destitute people from churches at night.

b. More than four million people need food aid, but the government is limiting food aid distribution, having also blocked a UN appeal for humanitarian aid and forced tens of thousands to return to rural areas where food security is already low.

c. Tens of thousands need clean water and sanitation, but the government is restricting the work of aid agencies that are trying to assist.

d. Despite the already grave humanitarian and internal displacement crisis the government has continued to evict people; some families have been forcibly evicted and moved several times in the past few months.

Zimbabwe's consistent failure to respect human rights has been well documented, including in reports published in 2005 by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) and the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues. In the face of such clear, well-documented and large-scale violations, member States of the AU and UN have a duty to ensure that the recommendations of such regional and international problem-solving mechanisms are implemented in order to address the present deprivation of African citizens and deter such harmful practices in the future.

The silence of African States in the face of the grave suffering caused by forced evictions, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on the continent, has created the regrettable impression of tacit approval of forced evictions as a policy option.

Today, we call on African States, individually and in their capacity as members of the AU, to:

a. Publicly express concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in Zimbabwe, including the human rights violations that have been a direct consequence of Operation Murambatsvina;

b. Publicly encourage and offer support to the Government of Zimbabwe to implement the recommendations contained in the reports of the ACHPR and the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, as a matter of urgency;

c. Place the human rights and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe on the agenda of the AU January 2006 Assembly of Heads of State and Government;

d. Condemn the refusal of the Government of Zimbabwe to cooperate with the Special Envoy of the African Union Commission when he visited Zimbabwe in July 2005 and insist that he be allowed to return to Zimbabwe, fulfil his mandate and report to the AU on the situation of internally displaced people in Zimbabwe;

e. Call for the immediate lifting of all unnecessary restrictions on the provision of humanitarian assistance, including restrictions on the provision of temporary shelter.

f. Call for the provision of effective remedies for the victims of the mass evictions and demolitions and all other human rights violations, including access to justice, reparations, guarantees of non-repetition, compensation and restitution where possible;

g. Call for an end to impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations in Zimbabwe and for those responsible to be brought to justice;

h. Pledge to seek alternatives to forced eviction in their own jurisdiction.

We also call on African States as members of the UN to:

a. Give full support to the UN initiatives aimed at addressing the human rights and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe and to put pressure on the government to allow independent human rights monitoring in Zimbabwe, including UN Special Rapporteurs.

b. In particular, we call on African members of the UN Security Council (Algeria, Benin and Tanzania) and those States that will become members in January 2006 (Ghana and Republic of the Congo) to allow the Security Council to be regularly informed on the situation in Zimbabwe, including the situation in respect of the UN's humanitarian access to displaced and vulnerable people.

Supporting organizations:


Associacao Justica, Paze Democracia (AJPD)


Amnesty International - Botswana

Ditshwanelo (The Botswana Centre for Human Rights)

Women in Law in Southern Africa - Botswana


Association Africaine de défense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO)

Collectif des Jeunes du Sud-Kivu (COJESKI)

Comité Droits de l'Homme Maintenant

Fondation Bill Clinton

La Voix des Sans Voix

Ligue des Electeurs

Mouvement des jeunes et Etudiants pour la Patrie

Observatoire Congolais des Droits de l'Homme (OCDH)

Réseau Provincial de Défense des Droits Humains-Kin (REPRODHOC)

SADC-Youth Movement

Toges Noires


Afro- Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organisation (AAPSO)

The Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights


Initiative Africa (IA)


Human Rights Concern


African Women Lawyers Association

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (Africa)

Media Foundation for West Africa

People's Dialogue for Human Settlements

The Arc Foundation


Amnesty International - Kenya

Association of Media Women in Kenya

Basic Rights

Citizens Coalition for Constitutional Change

Hakijimii Trust

Independent Medical Legal Unit

FIDA Kenya

Kenya Medical Association Human Rights Committee

Kisumu Urban Apostolate Programmes - Pandipieri

Men to Men

Men for Gender Equality


People Against Torture

Release Political Prisoners Group

Social Reform Centre

Umande Trust

Young Women Leadership Institute


Federation of Women Lawyers

Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA)

Lesotho Closthing and Allied Workers Union

Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations

Lesotho Durham Link

Lesotho Society for mentally Handicapped Persons

Lesotho Youth Federation

Media Institute of Southern Africa - Lesotho

NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Children

Women in Law in Southern Africa - Lesotho

Young Women Christian Association


Amnesty International - Liberia


Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR)

Civil Liberties Committee

Institute of Policy Interaction (IPI)

National Media Institute of Southern Africa (NAMISA)

Women in Law in Southern Africa - Malawi


Women in Law in Southern Africa - Mozambique


Association for Children with Language, Speech & Hearing Impairments (ClaSH)

of Namibia

Big Issue Namibia

Clement Daniels Legal Practitioners

Katutura Community Radio 106.2 FM

Legal Assistance Centre of Namibia

Namibia Development Trust

Namibia NGO Forum

!Nara Training Centre

National Society for Human Rights (NSHR)

People's Education, Assistance and Counselling for Empowerment (PEACE)


Sister Namibia

The Rainbow Project

Women Leadership Centre of Namibia


Civil Resources Development & Documentation Centre (CIRRDOC)

Concerned Professionals (CP)

Gender Development Action (GADA)

Legal Defence and Assistance Project (LEDAP)

Prisoners Rehabilitation & Welfare Action (PRAWA)


Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC)


Amnesty International - Senegal

Convergence Africaine pour la Democratie et les Droits Humanins (CADDU)


Justice Watch Association (JUWA)

National Union of Somali Journalists


Somali Human Rights Defenders Network


Samotalis Coalition for Human Rights

Somaliland National Human Rights Network


Action Support Centre

Action Support Centre and Coalition for Peace in Africa (COPA)

Amnesty International - South Africa (AISA)

Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa)

Association for Community and Rural Advancement (AnCRA)

Association of Rural Advancement (AFRA)

Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)

Centre for Rural Legal Studies (CRLS)

Coalition for Peace in Africa

Community Law Centre

Crisis Coalition Zimbabwe

Eastern Cape Agricultural Research Programme (ECARP)

Free State Rural Development Association

Heal Zimbabwe Trust

Karoo Centre for Human Rights

Land Access Movement of South Africa

Land for Peace

Lawyers for Human Rights - Stellenbosch Office

Legal Assistance Centre

National Land Committee (NLC)

Nkunzi Development Association

Peace and Democracy Project

Programme for Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) - University of Western Cape

Rural Legal Trust (RLT)

South Africa National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO)

Support Centre - ACTION for Conflict Transformation

Southern Cape Land Committee

Solidarity Peace Trust (SPT)

Southern African Women's Institute of Migration Affairs

Southern Africa Litigation Centre

TRAC Mupumalanga

Transkei Land Services Organisation

Treatment Action Campaign

Women on Farm Project

Zimbabwe Action Support Group

Zimbabwe Advocacy Campaign (ZAC)

Zimbabwe Exiles Forum

Zimbabwe Human Rights Lobby Group

Zimbabwe Political Victims Association (ZIPOVA)

Zimbabwe Torture Victims Project (ZTVP)


SIHA Network


Coordinating Assembly of NGOs (CANGO)

Women in Law in Southen Africa - Swaziland


BEB Rural Development Option

Grassroot Initiative Support Trust

Media Institute of Southern Africa - Tanzania

Same Network of NGO/CBOs

Tabora Development Foundation Trust

Tabora Development Society

Tanzania Christian Farm Development Trust


Anti Voters Apathy (AVAP)

Catholic Centre for Justice Development and Peace (CCJDP)

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace

Children in Need (CHIN)

Foundation for Democratic Progress (FODEP)

Justice for Widow and Orphans

Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)

Southern African Centre for Conflict Resolution and Disputes

Women in Law in Southern Africa - Zambia

Women for Change

Zambia Association for Research and Development (ZARD)

Zambia Civic Education Association


Counselling Services Unit

Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ)

Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT)

Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)

Media Institute of Southern Africa

Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe

Nonviolent Action and Strategies for Social Change

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ)

University of Zimbabwe Legal Aid and Advice Scheme

Women in Law in Southern Africa - Zimbabwe

Women of Zimbabwe Arize (WOZA)

Zimbabwe Association for Crime Prevention and Rehabilitation (ZACRO)

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights

Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust (ZIMCET)

Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

Zimbabwe Peace Project


Amnesty International

Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE)

Catholic Institute for International Relations (CIIR)

CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation


FIAN International

Habitat International Coalition - Housing and Land Rights Network

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

International Bar Association's Human Rights Institute

Network for Social Justice (FAHAMU)


Endorsed by NGOs in Asia, Europe and Americas

Amnesty International - India

A'idun Group

Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem (ARIJ)

Arcilla Research

Asociación Agenda Mujeres, Lima-Perú

Asociación de la Vivienda Económica (AVE)

Asia Pacific Socio-Economic Research Institute

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD)

Associaç=E3o De Moradores Do Jardim Nova Esperança I E Ii - Sumaré/Sp - Brasil

Associaç=E3o Gr=E3o - Diversidade e Cidadania

Association for Youth and Cultural Organisation

Barka Foundation for Mutual Help

C.D.D.H - Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos, Brazil

Centre for Trade Union & Workers Services (CTWC)

Centro de Direitos Humanos de T.Otoni

Centro de Direitos Humanos, Brazil

Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales/Center for Legal and Social Studies

(CELS), Argentina

Centro de Estudos e Aç=E3o da Mulher Urbana e Rural - Brasil

Centro de Estudos e Defesa do Negro no Pará - CEDENPA

Charter on Poverty Issues (Canada)

Comité de Campaña por una vivienda Digna

Concordamos e assinamos esta Declaraç=E3o Conjunta, Brazil

Condepe Conselho Estadual de Defesa dos Direitos da Pessoa Humana, Brazil

Corporación Humanas de Chile

Curitiba - Brasil

D.D.H - Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos, Brazil

Educational Assistance Organs Federation

Ensan Center for Democracy and Human Rights (Palestine)

Entidade APJ - Aprender Produzir Juntos

European Roma Rights Centre , Hungary

Faorlist e da Comiss=E3o de Direitos Humanos da Alepa

FDDCA=5F Frente de Defesa dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente do Vale do


Federaç=E3o de Órg=E3os para Assistência Social e Educacional (FASE) (Social and

FOCO - Argentina

Foro de Mujeres del Mercosur, Paraguay

Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais da Bahia- Brasil

Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais/Paraná, Brazil

Grupo Tortura Nunca Mais/S=E3o Paulo, Brazil

Habitat International Coalition - Latin America

Human Rights Council

Igreja Evangélica Projeto Vida em Volta Redonda

Instituiç=E3o: Missionárias de Jesus Crucificado, Brasil

Instituto de Desenvolvimento e Direitos Humanos (IDDH)

Instituto de Estudos Sócio Ambientais - IESA

Instituto Palmas

International Development Exchange

l'Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT)

LANUD - Instituto Latino Americano das Naç=F5es Unidas para a Prevenç=E3o do

Delito e

Macapá - Brasil


Mines, Minerals & People (mm&P) - India

Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos (National Human Rights Movement),


Movimentos Sociais de Teófilo Otoni

NASA - N=FAcleo de Aç=E3o Solidáira à Aids, Brazil

National Alliance of HUD Tenants

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, USA

N=FAcleo de Atendimento as Vítimas de crimes Violentos NAVCV

Ordem dos Advogados do Brasil, Brasil

Organizaç=E3o Ser Mulher - Centro de Estudos e Aç=E3o da Mulher Urbana e Rural -


Pastoral do Menor-Diocese de T.Otoni;

People's Movement for Human Rights Learning (PDHRE)

Peruvian Women Center Flora Tristan, Diverse Women Diary

Public Against Torture in Israel

SCANOVI - Associaç=E3o de Catadores de Materiais Recicláveis Teófilo Otoni,


Social Rights Advocacy Centre, Canada

Tratamento do Delinq=FCente, Brazil

Uni=E3o Geral Dos Moradores Dos Bairros Vilas E Jardins De Curitiba E Regi=E3o

Metropolitana -

Vânia de Melo vValad=E3o Cardoso

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