Zimbabwe: Villagers take ZCDC to court over forced evictions; NGOs say mining company & govt. must respect human rights
26 families from Tinoengana village, within Marange diamond fields, were on Monday 30 November 2016, advised that they are to be relocated on Saturday 3 December 2016, to a location unknown to them, to pave way for mining operations by Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), the new government owned diamond consortium that took over all diamond claims in Chiadzwa in January. ZCDC has allegedly already expanded its operations by mining in villagers' agricultural land and in some instances within villagers' backyards. Led by Marange Development Trust, a community based organization based within the diamond mining fields, and with the assistance of the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), the villagers filed an urgent high court application seeking to stop ZCDC and the Zimbabwe government from forcibly evicting them until issues to do with compensation and facilities where the families are to be relocated are clarified and agreed. A coalition of 9 human rights NGOs operating from Mutare convened a press conference where they issued a media statement condemning ZCDC actions, as well as demanding that the relocation and process be halted, as well as cessation of expansion of mining activities by ZCDC.
ZELA reported that "Sadly it has come to our attention that later in the day [on Saturday 3 December], transport was in Tinoengana village transporting people to Arda Transau on the basis that those transported had signed letters agreeing to the relocation".
ZCDC has yet to make a public response to the allegations. We will be seeking a response from ZCDC although the company to date has been unresponsive to public concerns over community impacts. If we are able to engage with the company, we will indicate here whether it responds.
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Zimbabwe: NGO & community lobby group win court case against ZCDC: Court orders company to cease operations until it complies with environmental regulations
Author: McDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters (Zimbabwe)
"Zimbabwe court halts mining at state diamond firm over environment permit", 1 Aug 2017
Zimbabwe's High Court on Tuesday ordered a state diamond company to stop all mining activities because it had not received a permit from the environmental agency allowing it to operate. The Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) was formed in March last year after President Robert Mugabe's government evicted all diamond mining firms in the Marange fields in the east of the country saying their licenses had expired. A local community lobby group, Marange Development Trust, supported by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association earlier this year approached the court saying ZCDC breached the law by mining without a license from Environmental Management Agency (EMA). But ZCDC had argued that it should be allowed to continue operations until EMA approved its license application..."The first respondent (ZCDC) is hereby interdicted and ordered to desist from conducting any mining operations in Marange district until it has conducted an environmental impact assessment process in accordance with the law and obtained an environmental impact assessment certificate," Judge David Mangota said in a ruling. ZCDC officials were not immediately available to comment.
Communities say situation in Marange has not improved since ZCDC took over diamond mining activities
Author: Joy Mabenge & Karen Hudlet (BHRRC) and Nyaradzo Mutonhori & Tafadzwa Dhlakama (ZELA)
"Diamonds are not all girls' best friends", 3 April 2017
Since the discovery of diamonds in Marange around 2006, reports by non-governmental organisations such as Human Rights Watch and Global Witness have exposed rights abuses and violations by both private security companies hired by mining companies in Marange as well as Zimbabwean army, police and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) operatives. During a workshop held end of 2016 in Mutare, the capital city of Manicaland, more than 40 participants, men and women, shared touching experiences of how they have suffered human rights abuses at the hands of the diamond mining companies that mined in Marange before the government took over the fields early 2016. The Zimbabwe government forcibly merged all diamond operations in Marange to form the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC). From testimonies given, it is clear that the situation has not improved, but worsening instead, since ZCDC took over the diamond mining fields...Three women walking with five children shared their experience of mining literally taking place in their backyard. One of them raised issues regarding health. “We suffer because of the dust and the noise. Mining operations are just where our crop garden used to be”, she complains...
Relocated families accuse former diamond mining companies in Marange of not honoring their promises including housing and compensation for relocation
Author: Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (Zimbabwe)
"ARDA Transau families blast ex-mining firms", 16 Jan 2017
Relocated ARDA Transau villagers have come out guns blazing accusing the former five diamond mining companies of failing to fulfill their promises, chief among them being compensation and housing problems and have implored the government to address their concerns...[V]illagers took advantage of the recent visit by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to express their anger and disappointment over the former five diamond mining companies’ failure to honour their pledges...Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) acting chief executive officer Dr Ridge Nyashanu noted the concerns and expressed readiness to engage the communities to resolve their problems...Close to 1 000 families were resettled from the diamond mining area of Chiadzwa to ARDA Transau to pave way for mining activities...Most homesteads of those relocated have developed huge cracks posing dangers to the families and the villagers are yet to receive their compensation...
Author: Nyaradzo Mutonhori (Zimbabwe)
"Emerging questions from last week’s Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines’ tour of Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company", 17 Jan 2017
...Women particularly not because diamonds are a woman’s best friend but because women bear the brunt of the negative environmental, social and cultural implications of diamond mining and they lose the most when revenue from diamond mining is lost through leakages...At the beginning of the tour, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development gave a background on the formation of ZCDC and indicated that the ZCDC is not a ‘successor’ of the former mining companies (Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources, Jinan, Diamond Mining Corporation (DMC), Anjin Investments, Gye Nyame, Kusena Diamonds) but represents consolidation of the diamond fields...When ZCDC was formed there was a general expectation that as a state-owned company it would take measures to respect and protect the rights of communities or people...The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee tour revealed that only approximately 10% of the ZCDC mine workers were women. ZCDC acknowledged that this is an area which needed improvement but did not explain what it is that ZCDC is doing or would do to rectify this and identify barriers that are inhibiting women from being employed in the diamond sector...Undoubtedly the local community, especially women need their capacity to be built so that women entrepreneurs can competitively supply the services and goods within the diamond value chain...
- Related stories: Zimbabwe: Villagers take ZCDC to court over forced evictions; NGOs say mining company & govt. must respect human rights
- Related companies: Anjin (joint venture Anhui Foreign Economic Construction, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation & Govt. of Zimbabwe) Marange Resources (part of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation) Mbada Diamonds (joint venture New Reclamation Group & Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation)
Relocated families tell stories of living in abject poverty; say ZCDC and previous companies not fulfilling their promises
Author: Veneranda Langa, News Day (Zimbabwe)
"The sad story of Arda Transau villagers", 16 Jan 2017
Six years after Nomsa Masango and her family were relocated from the Chiadzwa diamond mining area in Manicaland to Arda Transau, the only benefit she has accrued is a four-roomed house built by Anjin, and the rest is a sad tale...Several other seemingly impoverished Arda Transau villagers gathered around the visiting delegation...They jostle to narrate their sordid tales of poverty and nasty experiences after they were removed from Chiadzwa to Arda Transau...“Since 2011, when I was relocated with my family, I was only given $1 000 as relocation allowance,...There are no jobs around, as we were thrown into this bushy area. We can only provide cheap labour at surrounding farms...we feel that we were better off in Chiadzwa, where we had larger plots of land and livestock.” narrated Steven Charisiki...ZCDC acting chief operations officer, Ridge Nyashanu told MPs that they had plans for infrastructural development in Chiadzwa, including building a university if funds permit. Information minister Christopher Mushowe, who is also and legislator for the area, said the former diamond mining companies in Chiadzwa never fulfilled their promises to the people...
....The 1st and 3rd respondents are hereby interdicted from evicting the remaining members of Tinoengana village...or destroying their homesteads without a court order...
26 families face eviction to pave way for expansion of diamond mining activities by ZCDC: NGOs condemn company actions
Author: Donald Nyarota, 263 Chat (Zimbabwe)
"26 Families Evicted From Chiadzwa", 2 Dec 2016
At least 26 families from Tinoengana village, in Chiadzwa face forced eviction from the diamonds fields, five months after Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) started mining in their backyards...Civic society organizations (CSO) in coalition with community-based organizations (CBO) held an urgent press briefing to alert of the impending humanitarian violations and their intention to file an urgent High Court application to halt the arbitrary eviction. Led by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), the CSOs accused government of seeking to forcibly move the villagers without compensation...Meanwhile, Manicaland pressure groups led by ZELA have written a letter to the District Administrator [DA] Cosmas Sigauke warning him against abusing his power. ZELA researcher Nyaradzo Mutonhori said this was meant to warn such officials abusing their privileges to trample on the rights of the marginalized rural communities...When contacted for comment DA Sigauke said government was working on the mining development plans from ZCDC as well as requests from villagers who are seeking relocation. Sigauke said ZCDC had promised to settle compensation pegged at $1000 per household before the end of December but he failed to ascertain whether the houses earmarked for the families were in good condition.
Author: Maunga Maanda & Associates (Zimbabwe)
...Applicant is an organization that was formed to represent the interests of Marange villagers and its capable of suing and being sued in its own name...The Applicant has received threats that 26 household of its members in Tinoengana village are going to be evicted from their homesteads...to pave way for 2nd Respondent to continue with diamond mining activities at their homesteads...
NGOs letter to District Administrator & other authorities; "Arbitrary eviction of Chiadzwa villagers, Tinoengana community"
Author: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, in collaboration with 8 other NGOs
We have learnt with great dismay that your office and the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (Private) Limited are arbitrarily evicting 25 households in Tinoengana Village in Chiadzwa to pave way for diamond mining...we are hereby writing to your office to warn you to stop these illegal, unlawful and un-procedural evictions, failing which will result in us pursuing direct legal action against you in your personal capacity...
Press statement by NGOs in Mutare on forced eviction of villagers in Chiadzwa reportedly by Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company
Author: Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, in collaboration with 8 other NGOs
We the undersigned note with concern the following:
- That industrial diamond mining in Chiadzwa has led to the displacement of people in Marange since 2009, (Hansard report, October 2016)
- Evictees to date are over 1300 families (7000 people are affected)...
- That previous evictions and relocation of villagers have been accompanied by opaque compensation arrangements, and serious disruptions of affected villagers’ livelihoods and way of life,
- That since ZCDC effectively commenced mining operations in March 2016, the company has reneged on its obligations and liabilities...
- That ZCDC continues to expand operations into Chiadzwa’s Tinoengana village, without consulting villagers or engaging them in any way
We take lessons from previous evictions of Chiadzwa communities to Arda Transau....While the previous arrangement was conducted in cahoots with foreign owned companies, the current evictions are being driven by the Government of Zimbabwe in violation of the Constitution...We demand the following:
- Immediate cessation of forced evictions of the identified 26 families (about 130 people) and others yet to be identified until the process is agreed in consultation with the communities
- Immediate cessation of threats and intimidation of villagers by the District Administrator and state security operatives, themselves meant to coerce villagers in Tinoengana to agree to forced relocations
- Immediate cessation of mining operations in Tinoengana and surrounding village by ZCDC...