Address labour, human rights issues: Zela

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BY LORRAINE MUROMO
THE Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has urged the government to deal with human and labour rights abuses in the mining sector.

There are reports of workers in the sector being unfairly treated, and in some instances beaten by their Chinese employers.

Addressing delegates at a Zela workshop in the capital yesterday, legal expert and consultant James Tsabora said the government needed to put in place measures to deal with the vice.

“The government is supposed to put in place measures such as a grievance system that are simple and straightforward to help resolve conflicts in communities. This will help to reduce frequency and severity of human rights abuses,” Tsabora said.

“The Environmental Management Authority (Ema) can also conduct activities such as spot checks that feed into monitoring, audits, report and punishment.”

Zela researcher and lawyer Leon Dzumbira said: “When it comes to the issue of investors coming into the local governance and mining sector, we need to have a bottom-up approach where initiatives start from the communities where people are going to mine.

“We need to have an approach where people in the communities can be able to approach relevant stakeholders such as the Ministry of Mines and Environment and even Parliament and come in numbers and be able to have their concerns heard.”

The country is witnessing growing conflicts between communities and Chinese mining companies which are controversially evicting villagers from their ancestral lands without compensation to pave way for mining operations.

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