Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum from The Bail Circle

  1.  I hereby would like to present to the Select Committee evidence we received re the problems on food scarcity and distributions, and its connections with politically biased violence and withholding of aid in both rural and urban areas throughout Zimbabwe. I would leave it to the judgment of you and your colleagues as to where it would be most effective, if at all.

  2.  The material was sent for submission to the Select Committee by the former Canon at Harare Anglican Cathedral, who withdrew from that church position after his vocal and public role in the conflict about the politicised appointment of Bishop Norbert Kunonga, of Harare, which made his position untenable.


  3.  Since the former Canon and his team have initiated a charity providing food aid, trauma assessment and where necessary, referral to safe houses to farmworkers dispossessed in the course of the farm occupations. The organisation is called the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust. The group became operational in December 2001; The Committee will, I am sure, be aware of the risks posed to the ZCDT team by disclosure of some of the activities hereby reported to it.

  (an account of ZCDT aims and actions since; see Annex A and B)

  4.  The ZCDT works very closely with the Amani Trust, the Zimbabwe equivalent of our UK trauma expert group the Medical Foundation, in monitoring and documenting incidences of militia violence, police passivity and obstruction to resource access, and in providing safe houses.

  (for Amani's documentation on violence to ZCDT clients, see Annex C)

  5.  In addition to Amani's summary of their data on concurrence of food safety, access obstruction and violence against ZCDT clients, the Canon was also sent case sheets documenting individual clients' experiences of assault and obstruction to food by Zanu-PF militias, with a handwritten note outlining his views on the evidence for a deliberate and politically biased deprivation/exclusion policy by the government being operated nationwide.

  A transcript of these client casesheets and the comments, giving range of incidents, is also appended.

  Case reports food obstruction and crop destruction, and transcript; see Annex D.

  6.  There are furthermore press reports from a) National News dd. 14 May 2002 and b) VOA News dd 14 May 2002 on the forcible return of dispossessed farmworkers which had been in the care of the ZCDT, to the Marondera area from which they had originally been displaced.

  The ZCDT went to the High Court on behalf of these displaced persons to seek their return to the safety of the ZCDT aid camp, and restrain the police from attacking and displacing the farm workers.

  Neill's written margin comment to us: "Not that the police obey the courts, but there is a principle involved."

  I understand from today's telephone conversation that those returned to Marondera were the subject of renewed attacks by the occupying "war veterans" who had displaced them.

  Forced return displaced farm workers to Marondera.[32]

  7.  A report (working draft) on food security and the link with systematic violence, produced for a network of NGO's working in the field, the NGO Food Security Network, quantifies the current position insofar as it is recorded, bearing also in mind the safety requirements under which some fieldworkers operate.

  Food security; A Civic Assessment of Needs and Capabilities.[33]

  8.  Finally, there is a recent report, dated 12 May 2002, that once again NGOs such as the ZCDT are to be on the receiving end of further state persecution.

  News 24, report dd 12 May 2002.[34]


  9.  The Bail Circle is a network of British volunteers assisting and supporting detained asylum seekers. It is funded by the Churches Commission for Racial Justice. During the course of last year and recently, it has born some of the brunt of providing advocacy support in the UK to the excessive number of Zimbabwean asylum seekers detained by the Immigration Service as having "manifestly unfounded", and therefore legally certified, that is appeal-restricted, asylum applications, despite growing evidence to the contrary on persecution of any and all opposition supporters at all levels of prominence in Zimbabwe. As a result of this unexpected workload we inevitably were contacted by/made contact with a number of civic groups and agencies working in Zimbabwe for the preservation of civic rights. It is through these channels that the information submitted has reached us. The material enclosed resulted.

The Bail Circle

May 2002

32   National News, Tuesday 14 May 2002, "Riot Police throw refugees back to their tormentors." [Not printed]. Back

33   Report produced for the NGO Food Security Network. Draft, May 2002. [Not printed]. Back

34   [Not printed]. Back

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