Zimbabwe health crisis 'a crime'


BBC NEWS | Africa | Zimbabwe health crisis 'a crime' (external - login to view)


The health crisis in Zimbabwe should be the subject of an investigation by the International Criminal Court, campaign group Physicians for Human Rights says.

President Robert Mugabe's government is responsible for the collapse of the health, water and sanitation systems - violating human rights, it says.

With no functioning public hospitals, the cholera epidemic has killed far more than 2,000 people, it added.

The US-based group called for the UN to take control of the health service.

Physicians for Human Rights says the "shocking" findings in its report - Health in Ruins, a man-made disaster in Zimbabwe - should compel the international community to act.

"These findings add to the growing evidence that Robert Mugabe and his regime may well be guilty of crimes against humanity," it says in the report's preface, which is signed by South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson and Richard Goldstone, a former chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

The cholera epidemic broke out in August and the UN has already warned it could take six months to control it.

President Mugabe has been facing intensified criticism over the dire economic and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.

He signed a power-sharing deal with his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, in September, intended to rescue the collapsing economy but progress has since stalled over who should control key ministries.

Mr Tsvangirai has threatened to pull out of power-sharing talks unless abductions of his supporters stop.

Among its recommendations, the report says the UN Security Council and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) should call on Mr Mugabe to accept the first round of last year's presidential election, which was won by Mr Tsvangirai.

The opposition leader withdrew from a run-off in June citing state-sponsored violence.

"The Mugabe regime has used any means at its disposal, including the politicisation of the health sector, to maintain its hold on power," the preface says.
The report's findings are based on a visit to the country in December 2008.

Well it's about damn time somebody figured it all out.... now how long will it be before anybody starts to form up an organization to talk about what they may or may not do to take action, if they determine action is needed?
More talk from the UN. That's how these African situations usually go though, talk, talk, talk until a couple hundred thousand have died.

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