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US insists the deported four were just humanitarian workers

By Staff Writer

The United States has expressed grave disappointment over the recent deportation of USAID workers insisting they were just humanitarian staffers.

The United States is deeply concerned by Zimbabwean authorities’ recent attempts to verbally and physically intimidate several US government officials and contractors — subjecting some of them to overnight detention, transportation in unsafe conditions, prolonged interrogation, seizure of and intrusion into personal electronic equipment, and forced deportation.

They underscored that such  inappropriate and aggressive treatment occurred while the individuals were assessing the development and governance context in Zimbabwe to help inform Usaid’s work to support civic participation, democratic institutions, and human rights.

“This is a grave development that follows other serious incidents over the past two years in which US government officials and US citizens experienced harassment and improper treatment from the Zimbabwean authorities. These unjustifiable actions render hollow the Government of Zimbabwe’s claims that it is committed to the reforms necessary for democratic governance and re-engagement with the international community.

“USAID supports the people of Zimbabwe as they seek to build a more resilient, inclusive, and democratic society — with accountable political leaders and government institutions, active citizen participation, and adherence to the rule of law. We will continue to robustly support civil society, human rights defenders, and independent media and — as seen through our recent targeted sanctions — will not hesitate to take additional measures to hold accountable those who deny Zimbabweans fundamental freedoms and good governance.”

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