Zimbabwe has come under the human rights spotlight, barely three days after its president Robert Mugabe was elected to the African Union chair.

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On Tuesday international watchdog, Human Rights Watch released a report which claims that the government used violence and harassment, to forcibly relocate 20 000 flood victims of the Tokwe Mukorsi dam disaster in 2014.

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It accuses Zimbabwe of violating African Union protocols and United Nations principles governing internal displacements and relocations.

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Flood victims say the government evacuation, that was meant to save their lives, is now killing them.

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In 2014, over 3 000 families were evacuated from their homes to an overcrowded holding camp after the Tokwe river burst its banks.

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They say they were promised 4 hectare plots and compensation but five months later, the government forcibly closed down the holding camp, allegedly holding back food and tents donated by aid agencies to coerce flood victims to move to resettlement areas.

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The new plots were reduced to one hectare per family and now these victims are struggling to rebuild their lives, in a hot arid region and without compensation.

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The watchdog says government has confirmed that the farmers have no choice but to grow sugarcane for a planned state ethanol project.

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Human Rights Watch has called on government to immediately give the victims adequate aid without conditions and compensate them fairly for their losses.

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It also called on government to investigate the circumstances of the Tokwe Murkosi flooding.

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The relevant government ministers were not available to comment. But in the past they have said that the discontent is only confined to the minority.

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