2005-09-12-Zimbabwe clearances Aids impact

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2005-09-12-Zimbabwe clearances Aids impact

 

Zimbabwe's controversial slum clearance campaign has disrupted programmes aimed at treating HIV/Aids in the country, says New York-based Human Rights Watch.

The disruption to treatment programmes could also spread resistance to drugs and lead to more infections, it says.

The group say the demolitions have also exacerbated food shortages by making it harder for aid agencies to help.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe has signed into law constitutional changes critics say further entrench his rule.

Nearly a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million people are estimated to be infected with HIV, the virus that causes Aids.

One care worker in the eastern city of Mutare was quoted as saying that five of his 20 clients had already died in the open after being evicted from their homes.

"Just this morning we attended the funeral of one woman who died leaving behind a 5-year-old child."

"They were sleeping in the open. These conditions are not good for already sick people."

Control

The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has described the constitutional amendments as "a serious assault on citizens' basic rights and freedoms".

It strengthens government control over land redistribution and allows the government to confiscate passports of those deemed to pose a threat to national security.

The bill also reintroduces the Senate, which was abolished in 1987. This could allow the president to appoint more people to parliament.

The Law Society of Zimbabwe warned that the moves could seriously erode if not remove rights to property, protection of the law and freedom of movement.

The constitution has been altered 17 times since independence in 1980.

Late last week, the IMF decided to defer for six months a ruling on whether to expel Zimbabwe because of its unpaid debts

Zimbabweans face a deep economic crisis, with high unemployment, rampant inflation, and food and fuel shortages.

 


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