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Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Tsvangirai slams refugee stance!!!


June 06, 2007 Edition 2

Peter Fabricius

Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused Southern African countries and the international community of criminalising the millions of Zimbabwean refugees in neighbouring countries.

He believed this was because they did not want to admit they had legitimate reasons to flee their country.

Tsvangirai, leader of one faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, told the diplomatic community in Pretoria yesterday that the international community was ignoring the growing humanitarian crisis among the Zimbabwean refugees now living in South Africa, Botswana and other neighbouring countries.

They were ignoring the problem because they and the regional and African governments were "still in a state of denial" that the Zimbabwean political crisis had created the growing refugee problem, he said.

"There is a refusal to admit that the Zimbabwean crisis is having a real negative impact on the region that might create conditions for general regional instability.

"Some countries are in this perpetual state of denial for fear that their reading of the Zimbabwean crisis and strategies of intervention might at last be pronounced wrong. The presence of refugees might therefore be seen as a direct indictment of policies pursued in dealing with the Mugabe regime.

"The escape route chosen to mask this deceptive denial has been to brand all Zimbabwean refugees as border jumpers and therefore liable for criminal prosecution through a given country's immigration laws.

"This has absolved the governments concerned of any moral responsibility."

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