Meeting in Glasgow yesterday the Catholic Bishops of Scotland issued the following statement on the situation in Zimbabwe "Along with many people of goodwill throughout the world, the members of the Bishops' Conference of Scotland, meeting in Scotus College, Glasgow, express their concern that an estimated 100,000 of the poorest Zimbabweans have recently been evicted from their homes on the instructions of President Robert Mugabe. These homes, and the market stalls by which many have eked out a living, have been destroyed by the police, who have confiscated their goods. It is estimated a further 23,000 arrests have been made throughout the country. These worrying developments concern us deeply. Just a few weeks ago, Archbishop Pius Ncube, the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe was in our country to receive the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award for his forthright defence of human rights. We speak out in support of the Archbishop and along with members of the Scotland Zimbabwe Group, we wish to express our solidarity with the dispossessed and to unite with our brother bishops in Zimbabwe who speak out in honesty and justice in defence of the dignity and humanity of the people of Zimbabwe. Last week the members of the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference registered their own dismay at what has been described as a 'clean up' operation, dubbed 'Operation Restore Order'. The Bishops wrote: "We are surprised that this operation is being carried out without enough warning and without Government offering any alternative accommodation and sources of income to the affected huge number of people". They described how in some cases Riot Squads moved in on unarmed and peaceful citizens and concluded, "A grave crime has been committed against poor and helpless people who are already facing many hardships."" Source: SMO
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