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: Farm workers & unions express concern over "slavery on Zimbabwe farms"

22 Oct 2017 — "Uproar over 'slavery' on Zimbabwe farms", 21 Sept 2017 Farmworkers in Zimbabwe can now be employed for four and half years by the same employer on short-term contracts, an arrangement that leaves them vulnerable to abuse and without terminal benefits. According to Statutory Instrument 67 of 217 giving legal force to the 2016 collective agreement in the agricultural industry that replaced conditions set in 2014, the contracts of nine months are now renewable six times...[S]ome unions are now up in arms against the collective bargaining agreement, saying it condemned farm workers to slavery..Farm workers get a measly $75 a month...In Macheke, where some of the biggest tobacco producers are found, workers said their lives had become hell after the agreement gazetted in December last year...Other farm labourers said they were subjected to long working hours and were exposed to harmful chemicals as they had no protective clothing..."On average, we are paid $2,77 a day for 26 days a month," said one of the workers who identified herself as Tsitsi Katsande. "However, getting that money is a real struggle. We are paid in groceries most of the time...At one of the farms, the owner was seen giving his workers bathing soap as their monthly pay. The workers said they could not protest for fear of losing their jobs...Last Ngoma said most workers at the farms had no protective clothing and did not get assistance from their employers when they fell sick...

Zimbabwe: "Government bilateral investment deals should not leave communities poorer", says BHRRC researcher

3 Oct 2017 — ‘Government bilateral investment deals should not leave communities poorer’, 6 Sept 2017 Business and Human Rights Resource Centre East African researcher Joseph Kibugu during a Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association meeting with Marange community based organisations held in Mutare...urged communities relocated from Chiadzwa to pave way for diamond mining to speak out loud against unfair compensation and any form of human rights violation...“You need to share your stories from a human perspective depicting the true extent of human rights violation caused by unfair compensation of your relocation. How you tell your stories is therefore very important.” The workshop follows after Marange Development Trust, a community based organisation, through the assistance of ZELA successfully filed a High Court interdict last month to stop the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company from operating without an Environment Impact Assessment certificate...MDT trustee and director Malvern Mudiwa said it was important for ZCDC to open up to dialogue with community based organisations...32-year old Sekai Muchabaiwa a mother of three in December refused to be relocated and demanded for $25 000 as compensation to relocate....

Treaty on business & human rights could improve access to remedy for victims, says new report

5 Sep 2017 — This report commissioned by a coalition of eight civil society organizations (ActionAid Netherlands, Brot für die Welt, Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations(SOMO), CIDSE, Friends of the Earth Europe, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the Norwegian ForUM for Development and Environment (ForUM)) stresses how a treaty on business and human rights could improve access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses. It proposes seven areas of reform in the draft treaty to address this issue.

Zimbabwe: One person killed and others injured after ZCDC security guards shot at alleged illegal miners

8 Aug 2017 — "Zimbabwe: Gunfire At Chiadzwa...One Person Killed, Three Seriously Injured", 25 July 2017 One person was killed, while three others were seriously injured when Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) Private Limited security guards fired at over 200 armed illegal diamond panners who broke into the firm's premises in Chiadzwa last week... ZCDC chief executive officer Dr Moris Mpofu said the company's security department was working with the police over the case...It is alleged that illegal panners cut the security fence around the Red Zone of Portal A diamond mining area at the plant..."The security guards ordered them to leave the mining site, but they resisted and threw stones at them. One of the guards fired three warning shots in the air in a bid to disperse the illegal panners but they kept on marching towards the sorting room...Upon realising that they were now under fierce attack, the eight security guards started firing towards the advancing illegal panners," said a source...

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..  

Zimbabwe: 200 Air Zimbabwe workers to be retrenched due to alleged mismanagement and high operating costs

1 Aug 2017 — "Loss-making Air Zimbabwe cuts half of its workforce", 17 Jul 2017 200 Air Zimbabwe workers to lose jobs in the fourth layoff due to mismanagement, high operating costs, old aircraft and equipment. Chairwoman of the loss-making Air Zimbabwe Chipo Dyanda says the airline is cutting half of its 400 jobs as part of a restructuring plan to revive the ailing national carrier. The airline has been hit with numerous losses for years due to mismanagement, high operating costs, old aircraft and equipment. Dyanda explains that Air Zimbabwe would cut 200 jobs in its fourth round of layoffs in eight years.“We were overstaffed by a lot and we are also trying to weed out people without the right qualifications. The retrenchment is meant to give space to the airline so that we can redeploy the money saved back into the company” In August 2015, Air Zimbabwe cut 300 jobs as well as in 2009 and 2013.

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.

"Defenders of the Earth: Global killings of land and environmental defenders in 2016"

18 Jul 2017 — In 2016, at least 200 land and environmental  defenders were murdered – the deadliest year on record. Not only is this trend growing, it’s spreading – killings were dispersed across 24 countries, compared  to 16 in 2015. With many killings unreported, and even less investigated, it is likely that the true number is actually far higher... This tide of violence is driven by an intensifying fight for land and natural resources, as mining, logging, hydro-electric and agricultural companies trample on people and the environment in their pursuit of profit. As more and more extractive projects were imposed on communities, many of those who dared to speak out and defend their rights were brutally silenced...[G]lobally, governments and companies are failing in their duty to protect activists at risk...Investors, too, are fuelling the violence by backing projects that trash the environment and trample human rights... [They] are failing to tackle the main root cause  of the attacks: the imposition of projects on communities without their free, prior and informed consent...Criminalisation tends to be used as a tactic when governments and business collude to prioritise shortterm profit over sustainable development. Over the course of 2015 and 2016 the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre documented at least 134 criminalisation cases of this type.

Zimbabwe: Miner killed in shaft accident at Caledonia Mining's Blanket gold mine

12 Jul 2017 — "Caledonia Mining reports fatality at Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe", 11 July 2017 The accident occurred in number 6 shaft area of the Blanket gold mine. Management has notified the Minister of Mines and Mining Development and the Inspector of Mines and will provide all the necessary assistance to the Ministry of Mines Inspectorate Department in its enquiry into this incident..."We take the safety of our employees very seriously at Blanket gold mine so we are very disappointed with this fatality,” says Caledonia Mining CEO, Steve Curtis...

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.