Zimbabwe Country Guide

The Zimbabwe Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA)

The Country Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities, among others. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Zimbabwean context, as well as their timeliness and impartiality.

The initial survey of publicly available, international sources was carried out by DIHR and ZELA from January to December 2013. The draft was consulted through a series of multi-stakeholder forums held in Harare throughout 2013 and 2014, and published in December 2014. The current draft was updated in March 2016.

The completed Country Guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview, on the basis of the information available, of the ways in which companies do or may impact human rights in Zimbabwe. The current Country Guide is not meant as an end product, or a final determination of country conditions. It is intended to be the basis, and the beginning, of a process of dissemination, uptake and modification. DIHR and ZELA seek further engagement with local stakeholders, and intend to update the Country Guide on that basis.

Read the Country Guide here

Read the full Country Guide here

News Feed

Zimbabwe: 8 small-scale miners feared dead after a mine shaft collapsed in Mazowe

27 May 2017 — "8 feared dead in Mazowe mine collapse", 24 May 2017 Eight small scale miners are feared dead after a mine shaft collapsed in Masasa area in Mazowe on Monday night. Four people are said to have been underground at the time of the incident, while four others who were resting outside were also sucked in...When the ZBC News visited the site, people who include emergency services personnel were milling around as rescue efforts were deemed dangerous without the necessary equipment.

So. Africa: Mineral Governance Barometer for Southern Africa launched; pilot study reviews mining regulations in 10 countries

8 May 2017 — This pilot study provides a barometer of mineral governance in ten Southern African countries: Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. The barometer takes stock of mining regulations in place at the end of 2015, the extent to which they are implemented, and features of supporting institutions. It is based on the observation that while regulations impose obligations on mining companies, in doing so they directly impose obligations on the state to monitor and enforce compliance, and they also indirectly impose obligations for citizens and civil society to hold the state and mining companies accountable. The barometer includes indicators of mineral governance across four main issue-areas: national economic and fiscal linkages; community impact; labour, and the environment, with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) treated as a special topic. The barometer also includes indicators of state capacity and state accountability with respect to mineral governance...

Zimbabwe: Illegal mining activities have left a trail of environmental destruction in parts of Zimbabwe, says foundation

24 Apr 2017 — "Gold fever leaves trail of destruction in Zimbabwe", 17 April 2017 Thousands of unemployed Zimbabweans have turned to illegal gold panning in a bid to survive the country's deteriorating economy, leaving a trail of destruction that has alarmed farmers, timber plantation owners and the country's environmental authorities....Deep tunnels have been dug beneath roads, railways and buildings in the Kwekwe area of the Midlands province. In some parts of Manicaland province, waterways have been diverted and roads destroyed...In Tarka Forest, a timber estate owned by Allied Timbers in Chimanimani district, more than 600 hectares of prime timber have been damaged to make way for the illegal digs, according to company executives. Manicaland's minister of provincial affairs, Mandi Chimene, said in February that illegal gold mining in Tarka Forest had reached "alarming levels", and resulted in the pollution of streams and rivers, and destruction of standing timber. "What is happening in Tarka (Forest) is shocking," Chimene said. "We wonder who is benefiting from the illegal gold because as a country, we are not. Such gold is not going to the legal market."  

Communities say situation in Marange has not improved since ZCDC took over diamond mining activities

4 Apr 2017 — "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...

Afrique: La Fondation MasterCard soutient les petits paysans afin de réduire la pauvreté et améliorer la sécurité alimentaire

11 Mar 2017 — "Amélioration de la productivité agricole : Plus de 23 milliards de FCfa de la Fondation Mastercard à 11 pays africains", 7 mars 2017 The Mastercard Foundation et trois organisations leaders établies en Afrique (AgDevCo, Icco Cooperation et Root Capital) s’associent pour améliorer les conditions de vie de 1,1 million de petits producteurs africains. Selon Mark Wensley, gestionnaire principal du programme Mf, ladite fondation octroie 38,3 millions de dollars américains (23.678.209.000 F Cfa) à Agdevco, Icco- Organisation inter-églises de coopération au développement et Root capital dans les programmes d’amélioration de la productivité et de l’accès au marché pour de petits exploitants agricoles dans 11 pays africains...Selon Idrissa Bâ, chef de file pays Sénégal à Icoo cooperation, ce programme Stars vise à transformer la vie de 210.000 producteurs ruraux dont 50 % sont des femmes du Burkina Faso, de l’Éthiopie, du Rwanda et du Sénégal, en facilitant leur accès aux crédits de marché et services de conseil agricole...[Selon le] Directeur du groupe opérations Agdevco...[la]...structure a pour mission de réduire la pauvreté et d’améliorer la sécurité alimentaire. A ce jour, elle a investi plus de 90 millions de dollars (55.640.700.000 FCfa) dans 59 entreprises agroalimentaires en Afrique sub-saharienne. Agdevco a facilité l’accès aux marchés à des dizaines de milliers d’agriculteurs et généré plus de 3.000 emplois. Amélioration de la productivité agricole : Plus de 23 milliards de FCfa de la Fondation Mastercard à 11 pays africains - See more at: http://www.lesoleil.sn/2016-03-22-23-21-32/item/62272-amelioration-de-la...

Proposed businesses & human rights treaty could be used to establish binding obligations on states to reform intl. investment agreements, says academic

7 Mar 2017

USA: Leber Jeweler calls on all companies to commit to human rights & environment, opposes Trump's exec. order

6 Feb 2017 — For many years Leber Jeweler Inc has stood up to dictatorships and oppressors throughout the world. From Angola to Zimbabwe, the Taliban to the Tatmadaw. For our work, we encountered obstacles and navigated threats to our personal safety, yet remained steadfast in the belief that wrongs need to be righted at any cost, lest we lose what we treasure most...[W]e never...thought we'd be taking on a similar struggle...in our own country... Now we stand, a nation founded and built by immigrants, on the precipice of a cliff where the values we hold most dear... are threatened. In 1910, the founder of our company...left his home in...Bohemia, bound for America...[T]o turn away an entire class of human beings, many of whom are refugees fleeing violence, is mean-spirited. It is unacceptable. It is irresponsible. It is also un-American. At Leber Jeweler Inc, we stand firmly opposed to the Executive Order... We condemn these actions as harmful to both our country and to the world...[W]e will continue our work on behalf of human rights and the environment, in defense of kindness and humanity... We know this struggle is never ending, but it is the duty of every person and of every company to commit to this greater cause...

African govts. increasingly censoring Internet with shutdowns - NGO says telecom firms can be allies to open Internet

3 Feb 2017 — The siege on internet freedom: How African governments are tightening their grips, 31 Jan. 2017 ...[Cameroon] is the latest in the list of countries that have responded to citizen unrest or elections by targeting the main medium of communication used to rally around protests. While internet shutdowns are not new to the continent, they have seen a rise in recent years... Burundi, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Gambia, Gabon, and Uganda all saw shutdowns in 2016 either before, during or after each country held national elections. [Also refers to actual or threatened shutdowns in Zimbabwe, Mali, Algeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa.]... Nanjira Sambuli, Digital Equality Advocacy Manager at the World Wide Web Foundation [says, in addition to legal and political avenues to fight internet censorship,] it’s also important to engage telcos as allies as they don’t usually want to shut down the internet as it eats into their revenue.  “At the very least, companies should publicly share how many shutdown requests they have received and what they have done to push back against them,” she says.

ZCDC needs to empower local women at the workplace as well as in host communities; says blogger

21 Jan 2017 — "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...

Natural Justice & Heinrich Böll Foundation highlight value of community protocols for effective engagement with extractive industries

12 Jan 2017 — “Balancing the scales: Community Protocols and Extractive Industries. Lessons from Argentina, India, Kenya and Zimbabwe”, December 2016  …The problems that arise when natural resources are discovered and exploited include environmental destruction, involuntary displacement [and] loss of livelihoods...The basic issues that give rise to…problems…[include] lack of inclusion of affected communities in planning, failure to obtain their timely and informed consent, including their right to say no to projects, [as well as] power imbalances…A “community protocol”…can help communities to mobilise and reach their own decisions about how development should take place...To build an understanding of the ways in which community protocols can be effective in the context of extractive industries, Natural Justice and the Heinrich Böll Foundation have partnered in an action research project with organisations and communities in Argentina, India, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The project…resulted in the creation of a Community Protocols Toolbox…This paper provides an overview of what has taken place over the last three years in each of the four community protocol processes and captures lessons that can be applied to future processes…