As Zimbabwean leader, President Mugabe, flies into Lisbon for the AU / EU Summit (7-9 December 2007), UK relief and development agency Tearfund, is urging that the talks should focus on the devastating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
Gary Swart, Director at Tearfund commented: “We fully support Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s boycotting of the talks due to Mugabe’s attendance at the summit. We are disappointed that the EU has allowed President Mugabe to attend the summit. However, since he is attending, we would call on the leaders present at the summit to challenge Mugabe on the failure of his government to address the crisis in his country.”
Tearfund is calling for the critical humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe to be urgently addressed. Useni Sibanda, National Coordinator of the Zimbabwe Christian Alliance said: “As Mugabe flies off to Lisbon, he leaves his country in crisis. Four million Zimbabweans are in desperate need of food relief in a country that has the highest number of orphans per capita in the world.”
Tearfund has launched an emergency appeal to support Zimbabwe churches bringing help to the poorest families affected by Zimbabwe’s spiralling crisis. Many have gone without food for weeks with even basic items unavailable in shops. The World Food Programme has warned that over four million people are at risk of severe food shortages.
The appeal has so far raised over £1.2 million.