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Zambia: ILO latest report on child labour says Zambia's agricultural sector accounting for more than 90% of child laborers in the country

30 Oct 2017 — "Zambia: Tackling Child Labour in Agro Sector", 16 Oct 2017 Agriculture in Zambia is growing, but the sector also continues to have the largest share of child labourers estimated at more than 90 per cent. This is according to findings of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) which also indicated that the trend has not reduced since 2012...The ILO Global Estimates of child labour Results and Trends focusing on the 2012-2016 interval also notes that a number of children are trapped in child labour worldwide, but the largest proportion of children in hazardous work is in the sub-Saharan Africa. According to ILO' s 2012 study for child labour and modern slavery, which includes human trafficking, child labour remained primarily concentrated in agriculture...The report indicates that nearly 92 per cent of total number of seven to 14 year-olds in employment work in agriculture, against around four per cent in services and three per cent in trade. At the same time, some children in employment work for their families as unpaid labour. It is worth noting that Zambia has made a number of important legal and political commitments to combat child labour...Many of these children work in hazardous conditions and experience greater difficulties in attending and benefiting from school than non-working children... [See ILO report here].

UK Court dismisses Vedanta Resources appeal & allows claim of villagers over water pollution in Zambia to proceed

16 Oct 2017

Les Commissions foncières d’Afrique veulent sécuriser les droits fonciers des communautés locales

2 Aug 2017 — "Les Commissions foncières d’Afrique s’engagent à sécuriser les droits fonciers communautaires", 25 juillet 2017 Pour la première fois se sont réunis à Accra au Ghana les commissaires africains en charge du foncier. Ils ont affirmé leur volonté de faire progresser les réformes politiques, juridiques et réglementaires dans leurs pays respectifs et à assurer leur mise en œuvre effective afin de reconnaître les droits fonciers communautaires et de sécuriser les terres communautaires. Les terres communautaires sont un enjeu important car elles représentent la majorité des terres du continent. Les systèmes fonciers coutumiers représentent en moyenne 70% de la masse des droits fonciers dans tous les pays. «Nous acceptons de poursuivre les efforts pour identifier, reconnaître et protéger les droits fonciers des communautés, y compris les groupes les plus vulnérables, qui sont les jeunes, les femmes, les nomades, les personnes handicapées et d'autres groupes ayant des liens solides avec leurs terres», indique une résolution des Commissaires aux droits fonciers...les commissaires soulignent que seule la reconnaissance des droits fonciers traditionnels par les commissions foncières nationales ne suffit pas et qu’il faut s’attacher à travailler à l'égalité des droits, à l'expropriation, aux moyens accessibles d'obtenir un crédit et des certificats fonciers juridiquement contraignants. En outre, une attention particulière sera portée sur les femmes, les jeunes et les personnes vulnérables, en établissant des quotas pour ces groupes. Autre point souligné, la nécessité de relocaliser les autorités de gestion des terres dans des zones plus proches des communautés et à renforcer leurs capacités...les commissaires ont convenu d'adopter et de renforcer des méthodes alternatives pour la résolution des conflits, dans des contextes où il est difficile pour les communautés d'accéder aux systèmes de justice de l'État, en particulier à la lumière de la distance entre les tribunaux et les zones rurales, les coûts des procédures, le manque de sensibilisation..«Il est donc essentiel de s'appuyer sur des méthodes de résolution de conflits qui sont proches, moins coûteuses pour les communautés, plus efficaces et adaptées aux coutumes locales pour la résolution des conflits. Les institutions locales pour la gestion des conflits devraient être renforcées et mieux soutenues et réglementées par l'État », ont-ils déclaré..  

Landgrabbing und Menschenrechte: Studie über die Rolle von EU-Akteuren im Ausland zeigt Handlungsbedarf; enthält Stellungnahmen der Unternehmen

24 Jul 2017 — Im Mai 2016 wurde im Auftrag des Europäischen Parlaments die Studie „Land Grabbing and Human Rights: The Involvement of European Corporate and Financial Entities in Land Grabbing outside the European Union“ veröffentlicht. Die Publikation dokumentiert u.a. Fälle von Landgrabbing in Sambia, Uganda, Kongo und Mosambik und beschreibt eine Vielzahl bislang ausgebliebener Handlungsmöglichkeiten der EU und ihrer Mitgliedstaaten, um das weltweite Landgrabbing zu reduzieren. Zu den folgenden Fällen, die im Bericht erwähnt werden, hat das Business & Human Rights Resource Centre bereits Stellungnahmen eingeholt: - Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Uganda - EcoEnergy in Tanzania - Socfin in Sierra Leone - Khon Kaen Sugar in Cambodia - Siemens und Voith in Honduras. ABP und das Bundesentwicklungsministerium (BMZ) in Bezug auf den African Agricultural Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF) äußerten sich jeweils in den Medien zu Fällen [ABP nur auf Englisch].

Land grabbing & human rights: Report examines role of European corporate & financial entities

1 Aug 2017 — In May 2016 the report "Land Grabbing and Human Rights: The Involvement of European Corporate and Financial Entities in Land Grabbing outside the European Union" was published on behalf of the European Parliament. The report examines cases of land grabbing in Zambia, Uganda, Congo and Mozambique and describes a number of possibilities for action by the EU and its Member States to reduce global land grabbing. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre previously sought statements in relation to the following cases, which are mentioned in the report: - Neumann Kaffee Gruppe in Uganda - EcoEnergy in Tanzania - Socfin in Sierra Leone - Khon Kaen Sugar in Cambodia - Siemens and Voith in Honduras. ABP and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) regarding the African Agricultural Trade and Investment Fund (AATIF) commented in media reports [BMZ only in German].

Eastern Africa: HIVOS says sexual harassment in flower sector '"prevalent" but "widely unacknowledged"; launches initiative on model sexual harassment policy for sector

27 Jul 2017 — "Stop Sexual Harassment Project: A Model Sexual Harassment Policy for the Flower Sector in Eastern Africa" ...[HIVOS] Stop Sexual Harassment Project...will work with the following project partners to implement an enhanced intervention in Eastern Africa:Kenya– Workers Rights Watch and Haki Mashinani; Uganda– Uganda Flower Growers Association (UFEA), Uganda  Horticulture Industrial Service Providers and Allied Workers Union (UHISPAWU), Uganda Workers’ Education Association (UWEA), and National Organization of Peer Educators (NOPE);Tanzania – Tanzania Plantation and Agricultural Workers’ Union (TPAWU);Ethiopia- National Federation of Farm Plantation and Fisheries and Agro-Industries Trade Union (NFFPFATU).The goal of the project is to promote a workplace and community culture that is responsive to addressing sexual harassment in the flower farms. [The project will] enhance a culture and systems for protecting workers from sexual harassment in the workplace; To develop replicable and scalable best practice methodologies for protecting workers from sexual harassment in the workplace.

Corporate tax avoidance “inconsistent” with human rights, says UN treaty body

29 Jun 2017 — "Tax competition and corporate tax avoidance “inconsistent” with human rights, says UN treaty body", 28 Jun 2017 Last week...[the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights] made its most definitive statement yet that corporate tax dodging – and the policies which encourage it – are incompatible with governments’ legal duties to guard against business-related human rights abuses, even when committed beyond their borders. This landmark development represents the latest signal that human rights protection bodies are increasingly poised to hold governments and companies to account for tax injustice. ...Combatting corporate tax abuse—which robs government coffers of billions every year—remains an under-explored yet crucial aspect of ensuring businesses respect human rights, as CESR [Center for Economic and Social Rights] has argued in various human rights and development fora.  ...[T]ax dodging via Switzerland by multinational copper firms operating in Zambia may amount to as much as $326 million annually, equivalent to about 60 percent of the country’s health budget... This [General Comment] gives human rights and tax justice advocates more concrete standards to which countries and companies can be held accountable for the human rights consequences of their tax behavior.

Zambia: Regulatory agency says 7 mining companies causing pollution on the Copperbelt identified

29 Jun 2017 — "7 mining companies causing pollution on the Copperbelt identified", 23 June 2017 Parliament...heard that Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has identified seven mining companies on the Copperbelt whose emissions are above the prescribed pollution control limits. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection Lloyd Kaziya said the seven companies have since been issued with compliance orders to immediately institute measures to comply with the national emission standards, while one has been served with an environmental restoration order to remedy the pollution it has caused on the Mwamanshi, Mushishima and Muntipa streams...“I wish to assure the people affected by the pollution of the water bodies and the people of Zambia that ZEMA will utilise the relevant provisions of the Environmental Management Act to ensure all seven companies comply with the conditions they have been served with,” Mr Kaziya said. Mr Kaziya said non-compliance by the companies shall attract stringent measures, including complete shutdown of polluting companies, and litigation.

Zambia: Govt. & World Bank reportedly agree on a $66 million loan facility to mitigate and reduce lead pollution in former mining town of Kabwe

20 Jun 2017 — "World Bank funds lead clean-up in Kabwe", 5 June 2017 Zambia and the World Bank have formalised a $66 million loan financing to mitigate and reduce lead pollution in the former mining town of Kabwe, where many residents have over the years suffered a host of health complications as a result of mining activities that started in the early 1990s. Environmental and health experts noted that the majority of Kabwe residents, one of the world’s most polluted areas and lying 150 km north of the capital Lusaka, suffer from respiratory, brain and abdominal related diseases. This is caused by breathing air or drinking water from contaminated water sources. Many expectant mothers are also experiencing anti-natal problems due to lead poisoning...“The good news is that the Zambian government and the World Bank board have agreed to release the funds (loan) to assist in mitigating the effects of lead on the people as well as protect the environment from further effects,” Ina-Marlene Ruthenberg, the World Bank’s country manager for Zambia said in an interview...The mining and environment remediation and improvement project builds on another World Bank financed project – the Copperbelt Environmental Project (CEP), which ran from 2003 to 2011. Remediation activities and management of contaminated hotspots will benefit an estimated 70,000 people living in hotspots and an estimated 30,000 children.  

Zambia: Almost a century of lead mining and smelting has poisoned generations of children in the Copperbelt town of Kabwe, says the Guardian's environmental editor

13 Jun 2017 — "The world's most toxic town: the terrible legacy of Zambia's lead mines", 28 May 2017 Kabwe is the world’s most toxic town, according to pollution experts, where mass lead poisoning has almost certainly damaged the brains and other organs of generations of children – and where children continue to be poisoned every day...But the real impact on Kabwe’s people is yet to be fully revealed and, while the first steps towards a clean-up have begun, new dangers are emerging as desperately poor people scavenge in the vast slag heap known as Black Mountain...The fumes from the giant state-owned smelter, which closed in 1994, has left the dusty soil in the surrounding area with extreme levels of lead...Lead poisoning remains a highly sensitive issue in Kabwe and people from several organisations refused to speak to the Guardian, while those trying to tackle the problem complain that data gathered by officials is not made public...One local source reports that there are children with brain damage, paralysis and blindness – all classic symptoms of lead poisoning – who have not been tested for lead, and that some children with disabilities are hidden away by families fearing stigma...A large World Bank project that ended in 2011 revealed the problem, though it achieved little in remediating the pollution...