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Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Violence in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector Action Points

STOP THE MACHETE! A stitch in time saves nine

WE, the 45 citizens of the Republic of Zimbabwe drawn from mining impacted communities, civil society organizations, parliament of Zimbabwe, artisanal and small-scale miners, captains of industry, the media fraternity and government officials gathered at the Holiday Inn-Hotel in Harare on the 17th of January 2020 for the Multi-Stakeholder Conference on Violence in the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining Sector.

Noting the urgent need to bring together a wide spectrum of stakeholders to engage in an incisive discussion and at least find a lasting solution to the anarchy brought by machete wielding gangs who are threatening the sustainability of a viable livelihood for artisanal and small-scale miners. Several ASMers have been robbed of their gold, gold ore, money and in some instances violently dislocated from their productive gold sites. (Zimbabwe has been robbed of its once peaceful and harmonious status);

Deeply concerned by duty bearers’ apathy to deal with the root cause of the machete wielding gangs whose actions are worryingly escalating each day;

Disheartened by Zimbabwe’s judiciary’s failure to observe the guidelines of sound, fair and transparent legal structure. The conclusion of some machete violence cases has seen some perpetrators continuously enjoying impunity leading to the country’s justice system being labelled ‘inept’;

Concerned by the President’s non reactionary move to declare the machete violence a state of emergency. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines jointly with the Defence Committee have made a commitment to undertake an enquiry to the violence starting from February 2020. However, what is needed now is to immediately prevent the wanton violence which should have been contained in its embryonic stage;

Saddened by the poor policy environment to resolve rampant violence likely to derail anticipated socio-economic development hinged on gold production. The violence if uncontained will paint the country’s investment climate in a gloomy picture, thus shunning prospective investors keen on responsible mineral supply chains. (Instead of viewing Artisanal miners as genuine actors in the mining industry, they have been unfairly labelled perpetrators of machete violence);

We now therefore call on the Government of Zimbabwe and its relevant stakeholders to ensure that;
• It moves swiftly to formalise artisanal and small-scale mining instead of criminalising this sector which has become a source of livelihood for many people trying to escape persistent poverty;
• Transparent and regulatory mechanisms which offer easy access to mining titles and legal production channels must be put in place. ASM is an important source of livelihood for millions of Zimbabweans;
• There is need for a holistic understanding of the machete violence. This will contribute to the development of multifaceted responses to curb criminality;
o The move by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy to undertake an enquiry is noble, however swift action is needed to urgently deal with machete wielding gangs;
• Stringent and deterrent sentences must be endorsed while the judiciary must ensure that bail is not granted to these human rights violators;
• The Government of Zimbabwe must move a step further to gazette a Statutory Instrument whose objective would be to protect the citizens from machete wielding gangs;
• Punitive measures must be enacted to arrest the corruption scourge. The pervasive involvement of some influential political actors in illicit ASM dealings has perpetuated criminality and corruption;
• The Gold Trade Act which criminalises prospecting by artisanal miners must be repealed while the archaic Mines and Minerals Act must be urgently reviewed;
• The Government and relevant stakeholders must begin a formal process to design and implement due diligence measures consistent with regional and international principles such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and embrace the Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights;
• The status of women in mining must be improved for the better. This is a prudent move in the promotion of responsible and safe artisanal and small-scale gold mining.


“The fundamental right to life is intrinsically valuable and sacrosanct and should be respected by everyone.”

END!
Harare,17 January 2020

LIST OF REPRESENTATIVES PRESENT

• Ministry of Mines and Mining Development
• Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development
• Christian Aid
• Centre for Conflict Management and Transformation
• Zimbabwe Women in Mines and Mining Development Trust
• European Union
• Mthandazo Women in Mining
• Media fraternity
• PACT
• Parliament of Zimbabwe
• Representatives from mining affected communities
• Artisanal and Small-scale miners
• Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development
• Zimbabwe Miners Federation
• Zimbabwe Republic Police-Minerals Flora & Fauna Unit
• Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

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