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10 Jul 2020

Nigeria Sun

Zimbabwe: Workers and lawyers association accuse Chinese mining firms of gross human rights violations and exploitation

“African workers upset over exploitation by Chinese mining firms”, 9 July 2020

… The recent incident of shooting of Zimbabwean workers by the Chinese mine owners, once again, has been dogged by controversy with gross human rights violations and safety norms for mining workers.

On July 1, a Zimbabwean rights group slammed Chinese-run mining companies of "rampant abuse" after two workers were shot and wounded, allegedly by their Chinese boss, after they complained about outstanding wages…

"The problem of ill-treatment of workers is systematic and widespread and what that shooting did was to expose the rampant abuse of workers. Wages are often very low and in many cases are not paid on time. If someone tries to exercise their right as a worker and demand what is due to them get assaulted or shot," Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (ZELA) said in a statement.

Forced labour and torture in the diamond mining industry, and other mining activities are rampant in Chinese controlled mining firms…

In February, a group of local miners at a Matobo-based firm in Matabeleland South province complained of their firing from jobs by Chinese employers in a court. Workers accused their Chinese employer of gross human rights abuses ranging from beating and unfair dismissals…

… Last April, workers at another Chinese company in the same province complained of being underpaid and working without protective clothing. According to the watchdog, there are several cases of Chinese miners refusing to pay salaries or provide their workers with protective clothing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It has become a pattern and a system. We have cases where miners are abused, beaten and discriminated against by Chinese miners. Locals in some Chinese-owned mines often operate dangerous, harsh and life-threatening conditions, while being paid poorly," ZELA said…