November 15, 2001 - LA Times: U.S. Recalls Peace Corps Workers from Zimbabwe

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2001: 11 November 2001 Peace Corps Headlines: November 15, 2001 - LA Times: U.S. Recalls Peace Corps Workers from Zimbabwe

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, November 17, 2001 - 5:38 pm: Edit Post

Read this story from the LA Times on the recall of Volunteers from Zimbabwe at:

U.S. Recalls Peace Corps Workers

U.S. Recalls Peace Corps Workers

By MICHAEL HARTNACK, Associated Press writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe -- The United States recalled Peace Corps workers from Zimbabwe on Thursday after the government refused to issue work permits for its most recent volunteers.

The Zimbabwean government's refusal to issue the permits follows a series of moves scaling back the presence of international workers in the southern African country.

Last week, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said foreign workers would no longer be allowed to distribute food aid, saying international organizations should not "interfere in the political affairs of our country."

The government also said recently that monitors from abroad would not be allowed to observe next year's scheduled elections.

The 43 Peace Corps volunteers in Zimbabwe had been teaching math and science in poor urban neighborhoods and on AIDS prevention projects. They are to leave within a week, U.S. Embassy spokesman Bruce Wharton said in Harare.

The decision was made after 13 recent arrivals were refused work permits with no explanation, Wharton said. There was no immediate comment from the government.

President Robert Mugabe has accused the United States and Britain of sponsoring opposition to his plans to redistribute 5,000 white-owned farms to landless blacks without paying compensation to the farmers.

Scores of farmers and opposition supporters have died since political violence erupted in rural areas last year over the issue of land redistribution.

By Admin1 (admin) on Tuesday, November 20, 2001 - 7:13 pm: Edit Post

Read the official United State Peace Corps Press Release on the suspension of the Peace Corps Program in Zimbabwe at:

Information Regarding the Temporary Suspension of the Peace Corps Program in Zimbabwe

Information Regarding the Temporary Suspension of the Peace Corps Program in Zimbabwe

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 20, 2001-The Peace Corps announced today it has temporarily suspended its program in Zimbabwe. The decision to suspend followed the Government of Zimbabwe’s failure to provide work permits for volunteer teachers, as stipulated in the bilateral agreement between the Government of Zimbabwe and the Peace Corps.

The 43 currently serving Peace Corps Volunteers in Zimbabwe attended a session late last week to address administrative issues and left the country today to return home or for personal travel. Peace Corps staff members, including the Regional Director for Africa, traveled to Zimbabwe to meet with the volunteers, Government of Zimbabwe officials and officials at the United States Embassy.

Teacher trainees who recently arrived in Zimbabwe were denied work permits without explanation from government representatives. Without work permits, those volunteers could not remain in-country and do the type of work for which they had been selected and trained. The Peace Corps has continuously monitored the viability of its program because of the volatile political environment in Zimbabwe and the country’s upcoming elections. Last year, as violence escalated in Zimbabwe, particularly in the rural areas, the program size was reduced by nearly two-thirds.

Not only did Peace Corps elect to reduce its presence in the country, but shifted programs from rural to the urban and semi-urban areas. The Peace Corps projects also shifted away from teaching English, although health volunteers who primarily teach HIV/AIDS prevention continued to be a critical and viable program.

Peace Corps regrets the suspension of programs in Zimbabwe after a 10-year partnership with the government and people of that nation. Over 350 volunteers have worked in Zimbabwe since the first group arrived in 1991. Though Peace Corps views the suspension as necessary at this time, staff will remain and reassess the safety situation with the intent to re-open the program when a more stable climate returns.

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