Australia Pledges $10 Million in Aid to Zimbabwe
Every now and then I'll hear something in the news that makes me proud that I am from Australia. Today Australia is pledging aid and money to those less fortunate in Zimbabwe.
Australia has an embassy in Harare and in kind, Zimbabwe maintains one in Canberra, the capital of Australia. Perhaps the good relations between the two countries is that in the 18th-19th centuries, they were both colonies, (Zimbabwe being Rhodesia at that point) belonging to the British Empire.
Australia says it will provide funding to Zimbabwe, the first Western country to announce aid to the government since the start of power-sharing last month.
Canberra is providing $6.4m (A$10m; £4.7m) in direct aid to restore basic water, sanitation and health services.
Australia has been working in Zimbabwe since 2001, within Oxfam Australia, which is a global organization of dedicated people working extremely hard to fight poverty in places that need them. They invest in long-term projects and respond to emergencies when needed.
Formerly named Rhodesia, the country claimed their independence in 1965 with a Unilateral Declaration of Independence. (UDI) Even after this time, it still fostered an allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II.
At this time, their move to independence was condemned by the Commonwealth; the United Nations and the international community.
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) authorised sanctions in 1965 which forbade most trade or financial exchange with Rhodesia, which lasted until December 1979. At that time, the UNSC invoked Resolution 216 which demanded a vote.
With 10 members in the UNSC at that time, the vote was 10-0 with France abstaining.
Skipping forward to the 21st century, a new prime minister in Australia - John Howard, described Robert Mugabe as a "grubby dictator" and also called on other African countries to put pressure on Zimbabwe, whose government was becoming increasingly autocratic.
The sanctions didn't prevent a handful of countries from ignoring them however. A few Arab nations along with Iran; Israel; Portugal and South Africa, still conducted business as usual.
In modern times, even with Australia's good relations with Zimbabwe, Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith said he was:
"under no illusions about the fragility of the political situation."
It is Australia's hope that the $10 million will help to provide clean water to the land-locked country and that health professionals from other countries will be drawn to the area.[/q]
Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) are nothing short of mind-boggling as it reports the figures for cholera in the area.
Water-borne cholera has so far claimed more than 4,000 lives in Zimbabwe, with more than 89,000 people having the disease.
To date, Australia has provided only humanitarian assistance amid concerns that the regime of President Robert Mugabe could somehow swindle foreign aid dollars.
But Australia's Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told parliament on Wednesday the time had come for additional assistance.
"I think that, provided we take the appropriate balance of circumstances into account, we can render Zimbabwe development assistance and help to build their capacity," he said.
The U.K., Department for International Development (DFID) will receive the other $5 million to assist in reviving Zimbabwe's failed health system.
Mr. Smith said: "DFID has recently introduced a program where they provide health workers and professionals with additional incentive payments."
There are several ways in which individuals and groups can help the people of Zimbabwe through Oxfam Australia:
- Donate to the cholera epidemic emergency appeal;
- Donate regularly through our aware program;
- Make a one-off donation
Unilateral Declaration of Independency (Rhodesia)
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Australia Pledges Aid to Zimbabwe
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