- Last Updated on 29 October 2012
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29 October 2012
ZLHR CHALLENGES DEMOLITION OF EPWORTH HOUSES
ZIMBABWE Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) finds it crucial to highlight the importance of the right to housing and takes this opportunity to speak out and condemn the recent destruction of people's homes in Epworth and other areas.
In an effort to protect the right to housing, ZLHR on the 22nd of October 2012, filed a landmark case in the Supreme Court on behalf of six Epworth residents challenging the manner and constitutionality of the destruction of the said resident's homes by the Epworth Local Board and the Police.
In the application lodged in the Supreme Court it is being argued that the destruction of houses by the Epworth Local Board and the Police violated sections 15 and 18 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe that guarantee protection against cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and the right to adequate protection of the law, respectively. The Epworth Local Board and Police acted without lawful authority or regard to due process of the law. Consequently, because of their arbitrary and reckless actions, families were rendered destitute and left at the mercy of the natural elements. The affected individuals not only lost all their belongings in a manner that was reminiscent of Operation Murambatsvina but also had to suffer the indignity of being rendered homeless.
It is also noted that the actions of the Epworth Local Board and the Police were in direct violation of the United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development Based Evictions and Displacement. In particular the failure by the authorities to give adequate notice, consult with affected persons or explore fully all possible alternatives to the house destructions violated articles 37 and 38 of the
United Nations Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development Based Evictions and Displacement.
As a direct result of the constitutionally reprehensible actions of the Police and Local Board the six (6) Applicants have asked the Supreme Court to award them constitutional damages in the sum $ US 10 000.00 each. It is believed that the creation and awarding of constitutional damages is appropriate in this circumstance owing to the manner in which people's homes were destroyed by state authorities.
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