Statement by Laila Freivalds on Anna Tibaijuka's report on the slum clearance actions in Zimbabwe

"It is an important report that has been presented by Kofi Annan's Special Envoy, Anna Tibaijuka. The report states that the slum clearance actions carried out by the Zimbabwean government have rendered 700 000 people homeless and deprived more than 2 million of their livelihood," comments Minister for Foreign Affairs Laila Freivalds.

"Ms Tibaijuka's conclusion shows that the evictions have been carried out with indifference to human suffering and have caused a serious humanitarian crisis. They are illegal under Zimbabwean law and are also a breach of international law.

"It is my view that the Zimbabwean government bears responsibility for the serious breaches of human rights these evictions represent. There cannot be any goal that justifies the brutal force that Zimbabwe's government has used against large parts of its population. It is a policy that bears the mark of ruthlessness," says Ms Freivalds.

"I urge Zimbabwe's government to act on Ms Tibaijuka's call to immediately discontinue the evictions and the demolition of slum areas, to make it easier for humanitarian relief organisations to assist those affected, and to bring those directly responsible for the operations to justice," she continues.

"It is important that the international community mobilises humanitarian aid to help those affected. Sweden will deal promptly with requests for such support. It is also important that the international community intensifies political pressure on Zimbabwe's government in order to increase respect for democracy and human rights in the country. In this respect, the African Union and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have a special role to play," concludes Foreign Minister Freivalds.