HomeNewsGovt should take care of squatters — Amnesty International

Govt should take care of squatters — Amnesty International


Amnesty International says the Zimbabwean government should take immediate action to protect 250 squatters forcibly evicted from an informal settlement in Borrowdale.
Police last Tuesday raided the informal settlement and burnt shacks belonging to squatters.
The squatters lost property, clothes and food worth thousands of dollars.
“Driving people forcefully from their homes in the middle of the night cannot be justified in any circumstance,” said Michelle Kagari, deputy Africa director at Amnesty International.
“The brutality with which this forced eviction was carried out is alarming.”
Following the eviction, 55 people, including five children, were taken to Harare Central Police Station and allegedly detained without access to lawyers.
The squatters are now living in the open after their shacks were razed.
“Amnesty International is calling on the Zimbabwean authorities to provide those made homeless with emergency shelter,” said Kagari.
“They must also ensure that victims receive adequate reparation, including adequate alternative accommodation and compensation. The unity government must end the deplorable practice of forced evictions and give the Gunhill community assurances that this terrifying ordeal will not be repeated.”
Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers said police raided the settlement armed with baton sticks and supported by sniffer dogs. Some of the affected individuals told NewsDay yesterday they were still in a state of shock after the raid.
“We were awakened at midnight by police who told us to remove all our property as they wanted to burn down our shacks,” said a woman, who did not want to be named. “They had dogs and baton sticks. As we were removing our things they just started burning them down before we had removed most of our stuff.”
The squatters said they were left with nothing in their possession and no food after the raid.
“As it is we have nothing with us here. Everything was burnt down; no blankets, no food at all tangovevanhu chete (we are now just people with nothing),” said another settler. The settlers, who were still milling around at the settlement, said they were afraid the police would return.
At least 30 police officers believed to be stationed at the Harare Central Police Station and Highlands Police Station reportedly conducted the raid.

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