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UN Envoy to Zimbabwe Criticizes Forced Resettlement

The United Nations special envoy looking at the humanitarian effects of the government’s slum clearance program has taken a strong position against forced urban-to-rural resettlement.

Anna Tibaijuka, the Tanzanian director of the Nairobi-based U.N. Habitat agency, expressed the view after a meeting in Bulawayo, on Wednesday with the governor of Bulawayo Province.

Correspondent Netsai Mlilo of VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe gave an account of the envoy’s visit to Zimbabwe’s second city.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Foreign Ministry snubbed the envoy sent by the African Union last week. It issued a statement saying it could not organize an itinerary for Bahame Tom Nyanduga as its hands are full hosting the U.N. envoy. The ministry also said the African Union gave too short notice of his arrival.

But Mr. Nyanduga told VOA’s Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he has not officially received this information, and that he intends to stay in Harare pending the outcome of intense negotiations between Harare and the African Union.

Mr. Nyanduga sits on the A.U. Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights which issued a damning report on Harare’s human rights record in 2002. One Zimbabwe human rights lawyer says Harare is loath to receive Mr. Nyanduga because it knows its slum clearance drive violates the African Union charter.

Reporter Blessing Zulu asked Mr. Saki to expand on the relevant provisions of the A.U. charter.