The United Nations is sending Anna Kajumulo Tibaijuka to Zimbabwe to report on the massive destruction of low-income housing and businesses in urban areas by the government of President Robert Mugabe. At least two-hundred-fifty-thousand Zimbabweans have been rendered homeless, with more homes being demolished every day. Some are calling the demolitions a man-made tsunami.
The Mugabe government has put thousands of unregistered street vendors out of business, shutting down one of the few ways poor Zimbabweans can earn money. The businesses are being forced to close despite the fact that unemployment in Zimbabwe stands at eighty percent, inflation is more than one-hundred-fifty percent, and food is becoming unaffordable for the poor.
The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights says that the assault on low-income neighborhoods and informal vendors is making the humanitarian crisis in the country even worse. The statement points out that many of the demolished homes and businesses have been in existence for more than a decade and were established with government support.
Miloon Mothari is a special representative for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. He told Zimbabwean authorities that "evictions should never result in rendering individuals homeless or vulnerable." Mr. Mothari says, "Governments must therefore ensure that adequate housing or resettlement is available for all those affected before executing an eviction order."
"Tragedy, crime, [and] horror," says U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli, is what "the government of Zimbabwe is perpetrating on its people":
"It really is obscene what's going on there, where the government destroys homes and businesses of Zimbabwe's poor in some perverse, misguided move to respond to political opposition or to respond to economic factors. It defies explanation."
What the Mugabe government is doing in Zimbabwe is not only wrong but borders on the criminal.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.