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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Article
5 December 2016

Villagers ask mining company and government to follow appropriate procedures in relocating them from Chiadzwa; say ZCDC not any better than previous companies

Author: Evidence Chenjerai, Kumakomo Community Radio Station (Zimbabwe)

"Chiadzwa Villagers, ZCDC at loggerheads", 2 Dec 2016

Chiadzwa villagers from Tinoengana are at loggerheads with the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company [ZCDC] following a recent notice to evict 26 villagers arbitrarily without any communication of the mandat[ory] nominal disturbance allowances...One of the villagers said they were not resisting operations but were against the arbitrary evictions as was the case with the previous mining companies. He said it was disheartening that ZCDC has continued to expand operations into Tinoengana village without consulting villagers or engaging them in any way...“We are not resisting relocation but lessons from previous evictions have made us realise the need to have facts before we move.” said Clive Chiwadzwa, one of the villagers facing eviction. “We asked the DA to show us the houses we will be relocated to but we were told there was no need for that,” he said...Villagers said they thought ZCDC was going to be their saviour after taking over  but it turns out they will be operating in the same vindictive way as their predecessors...

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