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Urgent Action: fear of more mass evictions in Harare

Amnesty International launched an Urgent Action

Thousands of people in Harare face mass eviction from their market stalls and homes. Most of the targeted people were victims of the 2005 mass forced evictions that left about 700,000 people without homes or livelihood or both. Four years on, the authorities now want to forcibly re-evict some of these people.

An estimated 200 people from an informal settlement in the suburb of Gunhill and thousands of informal traders across Harare in Zimbabwe face being forcibly evicted without being given adequate notice or any consultation or due process.

In July 2009 the Deputy Mayor of the Harare City Council stated that the city authorities have considered evicting people from “illegal settlements and market places to restore order.” The Deputy Mayor claimed that the targeted people were posing a health hazard and violating city by-laws.

Most of the people at risk of forcible eviction were victims of Operation Murambatsvina (Restore Order), a programme of mass forced evictions implemented by the Zimbabwean authorities in 2005 which left 700,000 people without homes and livelihoods. Four years on, the authorities have failed to provide an effective remedy to the victims and as a result many continue to be at risk of being forcibly evicted from both their homes and their informal businesses.

PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English or your own language:

  • Call on the Mayor of Harare to immediately stop any pending mass evictions from informal settlements or markets in Harare. In particular, the council should give adequate and reasonable notice for affected people prior to any eviction and ensure that no one is rendered homeless or vulnerable to the violation of other human rights as a consequence of eviction. Where those affected are unable to provide for themselves, the council must take all appropriate measures, to the maximum of its available resources, to ensure that adequate alternative housing, resettlement or access to productive land, as the case may be, is available.
  • Urge the Minister of Local Government to immediately stop any pending mass evictions by the Harare city authorities and to order all local authorities in Zimbabwe to stop any pending mass evictions.
  • Call on the Minister of Local Government to liaise with the Minister of National Housing to ensure that the 2005 recommendations by the UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe are fully implemented.


Mayor of Harare

Cllr Muchadeyi Masunda

1st Floor Town House

P. O. Box 990



Fax: +263 4 751124

Salutation: Dear Mayor

Minister of Local Government

Hon Ignatius Chombo

Ministry of Local Government

P. O. Box CY7706

Causeway, Harare


Fax: +263 4 792307

Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:

Deputy Mayor of Harare

Cllr Emmanuel Chiroto

1st Floor Town House

P. O. Box 990



Fax: + 263 4 751124

Salutation: Dear Deputy Mayor

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.

Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.


Formal unemployment in Zimbabwe is above 90 per cent. The bulk of the urban population, particularly women, survive on informal trade. Further forced evictions would drive these people deeper into poverty. Since Operation Murambatsvina, the city of Harare has repeatedly targeted informal traders, mainly urban poor, seizing their wares and fining them for operating at illegal trading places.

Amnesty International Urgent Action

UA: 196/09 Index: AFR 46/012/2009 Issue Date: 22 July 2009