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Zimbabwe: NGOs seek urgent investigation and action into abuse of locals by Chinese mining firms nationally

‘Rights, Peace, Gender Commissions Petitioned To Deal With Abusive Chinese Employers’ 23 January 2021

A group of rights-based NGOs have petitioned the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), National Peace and Reconciliation Commission (NPRC) and Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) to investigate allegations of abuse on workers by some Chinese mining companies. The petition prepared by Matabeleland North Institute of Human Rights (MIHR) was endorsed and jointly issued by Women Institute for Leadership Development, Gweru Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Matobo Youth Development Initiative.

… The groups are seeking urgent investigation and action into abuse of local Zimbabwean workers by Chinese mining companies countrywide. The consortium said it was incensed by some videos and pictures circulating on social media showing a Chinese miner assaulting a worker for demanding unpaid salaries. The video also shows some dogs trying to attack the worker while there are also pictures of injured mine workers after being assaulted with a shovel by a Chinese miner. A Chinese miner last year was arrested in Gweru after he shot a worker five times and injured another. Said the groups, “They are not the only incidences of Chinese mining companies being accused of torturing and abusing Zimbabwean mine workers in the country. “Incidences like these have also been reported in Insiza, Gwanda, Bubi, Hwange, Gweru, Matobo, Masvingo, Mutare and other districts of the country where mining is taking place and Chinese companies are operating.”

… Realising that our citizens have been failing to enjoy administrative conduct that is lawful, prompt, efficient, reasonable, proportionate, impartial, and both substantively and procedurally fair, we thus call for the independent commissions to step in and protect our citizens,” further reads the petition. The petitioners said Sections 44, 51, 53, 54 and 65 of the constitution forbid torture and slavery and guarantee labour rights and protection of citizens. They also want the Chinese mining companies investigated for suspected lack of compliance to Covid-19 regulations. They said waiting for the lockdown to end before attending to the issue could be detrimental to the situation.