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Harare Urged to Follow International Law in Chingwizi Relocations

The Chingwizi transit camp has some 3,100 tents, allowing just one tent per family regardless of family size. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

Human Rights Watch is urging Harare to respect international statutes that it signed in addressing the crisis at the Chingwizi holding camp where over 20,000 people are being forcibly being evicted to Nuanetsi Ranch in Masvingo province.

The villagers say they are being dumped in no-man’s land by the government which has failed to raise $9 million to compensate them as stipulated in the new constitution.

In a statement, Human Rights Watch said the government should ensure that the displaced people are not denied their rights under international law and Zimbabwe’s constitution, including the rights to health, shelter, food, and the prohibition of torture.

The rights groups said the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, which Zimbabwe ratified, requires in Article 9(2)(b) that states parties ensure that “all displaced people have safe access to food, water, shelter, medical care and other health services, sanitation, education, and any other necessary social services”.

The group is urging the government to urgently restore health facilities at the camp, direct police to end their alleged violent campaign against the villagers, and assure those in hiding that they can return to the camp safely.

Human Rights Watch researcher Dewa Mavhinga said the situation at Chingwizi is disturbing.