TAX JUSTICE WORKSHOP

Introduction

This news article is on the ZRBF training workshop held in Binga from 21 to 22 March 2018. The workshop was carried out in conjunction with ActionAid on the first day. Some participants from the command farming sector did not attend so the workshop was carried out with fisheries and relevant stakeholders, including representatives form Parks and Wildlife, Forestry, EMA, CAMPFIRE and Rural District Council (RDC). There were training on sustainable fishing practices and the importance thereof, advocacy and lobbying, social accountability, transparency and accountability including tax justice issues and the drafting of work plans for a way forward.

 Objectives of workshop

  • To train commodity associations on contract monitoring in command livestock, command farming and command fishing.
  • To train commodity associations on advocacy and lobbying.
  • Training on participatory budgeting and how revenue generated from natural resources can be used to assist communities

Runde Rural District Council Strategic Plan Meeting

Preamble

From the 4th to 6th of April 2018, Runde Rural District Council (Runde RDC, the Council, the RDC) conducted its five-year (2013 – 2018) Strategic Plan review through the support of Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA).  The review comes at a time when the Government is now demanding restructuring of the Councils annual budget expenditures with Administration costs constrained to 30% leaving 70% towards service delivery from the collected revenue. The RDC reviewed its six core departments namely Social service, Finance, Audit, Environment and Agriculture, Road Planning and works, Human Resources and Administration. Runde RDC is responsible for the economic, social and environmental management and development of the district of Zvishavane. Runde is endowed with significant and diverse mineral wealth. Mineral reserves found within the district include platinum, diamonds, gold, and asbestos being exploited by large and artisanal and small-scale miners.  In the attendance were RDC staff, Councillors from Runde region, District Development Fund (DDF), Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Trust, Traditional leaders, The Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Zimbabwe, Ministry of Youth and Environmental Management Agency(EMA).

The Objectives of the Meeting were to:

  • To Review Runde RDC’s 2013-2018 strategic plan
  • To domesticate the African Mining Vision and other best practice on mineral resource governance during the strategic planning meeting

The meeting was facilitated by Mr Mukosera from Ministry of Local Government. Mr Moyo the Runde RDC CEO gave the welcome remarks and highlighted the workshop objectives. “The centre for excellence in the provision of quality and sustainable social and economic development for rural communities by 2020”, this is the new vision that was endorsed during the Vision review session.

During the deliberations, six groups were created to review each department of the Council highlighting its Objectives in 2017, what they have achieved in the year, their overall target, Challenges they and their recommendations.

Community Based Organizations Training

 

Introduction and Welcome remarks

 

The training started with an opening prayer from a volunteer. Introductions were done by all the participants present . The participants were sensitized that the reason why they had gathered was to be trained on human rights and advocacy strategies as well as financial management and project management .Welcome remarks were given by Nyaradzo and she encouraged everyone to participate and ensure Community Based Organizations are successfully functional. She also announced that Zvishavane now have women’s forums .It was said that Peoples Summit Regionally are being done and in this year of 2018 it is going to be held in Namibia .She also sensitized the participants that in Africa there is Africa Mining Vision and for SADC there is SADC Mining Vision so the country is to develop its own too. Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba is being encouraged to trickle down to Village Mining Indaba. It was also said that Zela was appointed in Kimberly Process Certification scheme to lead the Civil Society Coalition in the scheme.  

Expectations

  • To learn new things
  • To learn how to sustain projects
  • To be able to write project proposals
  • To get an insight on monitoring Human rights in the community
  • Learn how to document cases
  • To get more information to carry to the women’s forums in communities
  • To get further empowered on advocacy issues.
  • Skill strengthening on writing project proposals.
  • To learn more on financial management and financial discipline
  • Gender mainstreaming
  • To know what the CBOs have planned for the year 2018 in line with the elections.

Objectives of the training

  • To train community groups (ZIDAWU , Marange Development Trust ,Save Odzi Community Development Trust) on Human Rights ,Security of Information and Advocacy Strategies
  • Proposal writing and grant management
  • To develop projects documents (Proposals, Monitoring plans, Log frames, budget and financial monitoring systems) for the Community Based Organizations.

Expected Outputs

  • Strengthened capacity and skills for community groups to carry out monitoring activities
  • Improved capacity and knowledge by communities on proposal writing and grand management
  • Developed documents (Proposals, Monitoring plans, Log frames, budget and financial monitoring systems) for the Community Based Organizations.

Press Release: New Kimberly Process Coalition Chair

Press statement

27 February 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

From the 18th to the 24th of February 2018, the Civil Society Coalition on the Kimberley Process met in Antwerp-Belgium to reflect on its role in the Kimberley Process and on broader diamond governance. Representatives from nine member organizations from Africa and Europe participated in the meeting

During this meeting, important points were widely discussed among Coalition members and in side-sessions with the current KP Chair and the President of the WDC, including the participation of the Coalition in the Kimberley Process and its operational management subsequent to IMPACT’s withdrawal.

The Coalition reaffirmed that its core mandate in both the KP and as it relates to broader diamond governance is to defend the rights of local communities affected by diamond mining activities.  The Coalition is also greatly concerned by continued human rights violations which include killings, torture, displacements and environmental impacts directly linked to diamond mining activities. Consequently, the coalition is deeply concerned that the Kimberley Process continues to ignore the human cost of diamond mining and trade.

Unfortunately, the concerns raised by Civil Society, a key pillar of the KP, have been largely ignored by KP participants and industry.  It is our hope that the EU as the current KP chair will champion the reform agenda resulting in a widening of the definition of conflict diamonds adapted to local realities. We also expect that the EU will continue working to secure and enlarge space for civil society to meaningfully engage within the KP and to be treated seriously and respectfully by other KP members and observers.  

The members of the Coalition have unanimously agreed that the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) will assume the coordination of the coalition with immediate effect.  

Done in Antwerp-Belgium 25 February 2018

For the Coalition

Shamiso MTISI

ZIMBABWE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION (ZELA)

+2634573 601-3   / @ShamisoMtisi

shamiso@zela.org

 

 

2018 MANICALAND PROVINCIAL ALTERNATIVE MINING INDABA

The Manicaland Provincial Mining indaba (PAMI) 2018 was held under the theme: “Accountable and Transparent Governance of Minerals: Safeguarding Development Interests of Local Communities in Mining Sector Reforms”. Welcome remarks were made by Sabhuku Kumbula from Manicaland, Ms. Janet Zhou from Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD) and Ms. Nyaradzo Mutonhori from Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA). Sabhuku Kumbula welcomed on the participants to the province and encouraged everyone to freely participate at the meeting as they had the blessing of Chief Mutasa, who represents the community. Ms. Zhou from ZIMCODD expressed concern that minerals were not fully benefiting mining communities hence it was important for communities to interrogate why they were not benefiting and to call the investors to account for their operations. In the same vein Ms. Mutonhori from Zela highlighted the need of ensuring that laws and policies are developed to ensure they advance the interests of local communities and citizens of Zimbabwe in the form of job creation, infrastructure development among other social needs. Ms. Mutonhori also explained that the PAMI was critical in giving a voice to communities, so that they are empowered to dialogue with the investors at national and the SADC level.

Several stakeholders attended the meeting which included, mining communities, civil society groups, the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC), the Mutare Rural District Council (RDC), Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), an official from the office of the Provincial Minister, among others. The meeting was supported from resources provided by ZELA, the ZIMCODD and the ZCC. The objectives of the meeting were to:
 Discuss mining sector reforms in Zimbabwe;
 Analyse the impact of on-going and proposed investments in communities
 Take stock of Alternative Mining Investments (AMI)
The key points at the meeting were shared to a wider audience through twitter #AltMiningIndaba@10. The discussions at the PAMI were highly interactive. They were characterized by presentations from various speakers and also included breakaway sessions to interrogate some topics in detail.

read more from the report

Playing according to our own rules: Citizens’ demands to the Government and new investors

 


(Side event discussion at the Peoples Convention)

Elections in Zimbabwe are preceded by beehive of activities as political parties jostle to sell their manifestos. The coming elections are interesting because for the first time since 2000 long rivals Robert Mugabe and the late Morgan Tsvangirai are not among the presidential candidates. Unlike in the past, the military pledged to support any party that comes as the winner. Political parties have come up with their Manifestos highlighting policies they are going to set in place once elected. It would be fair to conclude that citizens were not engaged in the formulation of these manifestos as there are no documented processes to support the engagements. In order to capture the expectations of ordinary Zimbabwean citizens to the incoming Government, Civil Society and Church organizations hosted the National People’s convention on the 20th of July 2018. The convention was held at Harare gardens and more than One thousand five hundred citizens participated.

Zimbabwe’s new dispensation which has been in power since November 2017 is on a campaign to woo investors under the “Zimbabwe is open for business” mantra. Already the Harare Administration claims to have secured 16.2 Billion worth of investments. These investments are largely in the Energy, agriculture and mining. Interestingly, while political parties manifestos’ seek to attract foreign investments, everyone is left guessing on how the engagement with the investors is going to be done. The Peoples convention accorded citizens to discuss among other issues the need for proper guidelines on investments. The Peoples Convection Discussions were shaped on five thematic areas namely; the Environment, economy, service delivery and the society. Of interest to the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association(ZELA) is the thematic topic on “The Environmental Care We Want”. This theme focused on Citizens’ expectations on how the Government should address Environmental concerns come the July 30th elections. From this thematic area, Citizens demanded the following;

• Local Processing of high value Minerals(Gold, Platinum and Diamonds)
• curbing illicit financial flows in the gold and diamond sectors
• That Government should initiate use of green technologies to reduce pollution Improved Parliamentary oversight in Mining and other large scale projects
• Formalize Artisanal Miners in the mining sector to minimize land degradation and hold them accountable
• Enforce land reclamation by tributary companies in the Chrome sector
• Enforce observation of EIA mitigation strategies by mining companies.

The demands from the Citizens’ Convention are a clear reflection that citizens are keen to participate in policy formulations and the political parties should take note. Issues of Environmental care cannot be wholly entrusted to the government.

THE REFERRAL OF THE MINES AND MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL TO PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT ED MNANGAGWA

 

Press Release

21 September 2018

THE REFERRAL OF THE MINES AND MINERALS AMENDMENT BILL TO PARLIAMENT BY PRESIDENT ED MNANGAGWA

 

This week, the media reported that the President declined to assent to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill. Facts established so far are that on the 30th August 2018, President ED Mnangagwa declined to assent to the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill (MMAB). The Bill was sent back to Parliament for consideration of raised reservations.

Parliament may be facing a real paradox. On the one hand, the Bill must cater for vested business interests under the ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ approach which is a pro-business policy. On the other hand, the Bill must, in line with the Constitution, ensure that the environmental, economic and socio-cultural rights of communities are protected and respected.

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) has been at the forefront of advocating for the repeal of the current Act and enactment of a fresh new Mines and Minerals Act. ZELA has insisted that such a fundamental law must in general be clear, coherent and accessible and the proposed layered piecemeal amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act make it too complex for it to be implemented effectively.   

ZELA is taking this opportunity to call for a new Mines and Minerals Act which would sufficiently cater for compensation, environmental considerations, human rights and transparency in the mining sector.  Since 2017, when the Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill was drafted, ZELA and its allies made up of civil society organisations, community-based organisations, mining communities, progressive politicians and public officials, including individuals within the previous Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy have recommended the following;

  • There should be a new and comprehensive Mines and Minerals Act, not the layered and heavily piecemeal amendments which are being proposed
  • Parliamentary oversight must be strengthened in the granting of mining awards and licenses and ministerial discretion must be limited
  • The Act must show how the Environmental Rehabilitation Fund proposed will be administered to effectively address environmental damage from mining and how this fund relates to the fund in the Environmental Management Act
  • The government must localise and prioritise the implementation of African progressive policies such as the African Union Convention on Natural Resources Governance, The African Mining Vision & the Yaoundé Declaration on Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (2008)
  • Provisions on compensation should be clearly outlined for those that are affected by involuntary displacement and resettlement associated with mining activities
  • The new Act should facilitate greater transparency in contract negotiation and access to information on mining company contributions to the national treasury
  • There is need to operationalise the expanded locus standi provided in the Constitution in the MMA. Expanded locus standi will enable those stakeholders whose rights have been negatively impacted either by the policy and decision-making processes or mining activities to vindicate their rights in the courts.
  • Furthermore, the State must place more effort towards building the capacity of the state bureaucracy to negotiate better and monitor mining companies.
  • Gender balance and gender equality must be integral from composition of Mining Affairs Board, up to putting in place measures within the Ministry of Mines to cater for needs of women in mining
  • ZELA reiterates that the parliament must insist that the new Mines and Minerals Act cannot be passed without implementation of section 315 (2) of the Constitution which states ‘Án Act of Parliament must provide for the negotiation and perfomance of following state contracts-joint venture contracts…….’’as the spirit envisaged by the Constitution is that these two Acts be read in conjuction with each other ‘to ensure transparency, honesty, cost-effectiveness and competitiveness

 

Issued by:

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association

Email: info@zela.org        Website: www.zela.org  Twitter: @Zela_Lawyers @ZELA_Infor

 

 

 

 

ZAMI 2018 Declarations

Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI) 2018 

Holiday Inn, Bulawayo 

10-12 October 2018 

 

We, communities affected by mining activities, civil society organisations (CSOs), faith based organisations (FBOs), social movements, small scale miners, academia, traditional chiefs, local government representatives, parliamentarians, community share ownership trusts, relevant government ministries, departments and agencies, business entities, academia and media met for the 7th edition of the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Bulawayo from 10  to 12 of October 2018 and jointly organised by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) and Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (ZIMCODD), 

 

Deeply concerned by the lack of Accountability and Transparency in the Governance of Mineral Resources, by the relaxation of mining laws by the Government (of Zimbabwe) in order to attract foreign investments and by neglect of community engagement across the whole mining value chain, by deeply fragmented state of the nation, hindering the transformation of the economy for empowerment and prosperity 

 

Mindful of our responsibility as citizens of Zimbabwe to participate and contribute in addressing gaps and shortfalls in the legislative framework governing mines and minerals in Zimbabwe, 

 

Convinced that the adoption of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative(EITI) and domestication of the Africa Mining Vision will greatly contribute to safeguarding development interests of local communities in the mining sector reforms, 

 

Urging the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to increase transparency in mining contracting process to improve accountability,  

 

Reaffirm the ZAMI as a legitimate platform for multi-stakeholder engagement to discuss the various challenges and opportunities characterizing the country’s mining sector, 

 

Declare and prescribe the following thematic recommendations as agreed at the 2018 ZAMI: 

  1. Gender and Extractives 
  • Inclusive policies that recognize women’s participation in mining and increase equity and equality in the mineral value chain. 
  • Legislative and policy measures that safeguard development interests of local small-scale women led investments. 

 

  1. Tax Justice and Illicit Financial Flows 
  • Enactment of new Mines and Minerals Act
  • Enactment of the Exploration Bill
    • Enactment of a legislation that makes it mandatory for mining investors to cede shares and promote community-based value addition and beneficiation. 

 

  1. Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC)
  • Parliament to promulgate law clearly outlining procedure for relocation compensation for mining and other investment related relocations
  • Government should make mandatory for every investor in mining sector to acquire a social license before commencing operations.
  • CSOs to continue capacitating mining communities to extract maximum benefits through constructive engagement with both investors and policy makers.

 

  1. Value-based economic recovery and empowerment agenda
  • Building unity and social cohesion must be an integral part of the values based economic recovery and reform agenda,
  • A society that is underpinned by four broad values of Accountability (Luke 16:2), caring (Mtt15:32, justice (Gen 1:26) and integrity (Psalms 51:10). 
  • The Church should speak out the truth and call spade a spade in enforcing the values based economic recovery and empowerment agenda.

 

  1. Farmer Miner Conflict
    • Safeguarding other livelihood activities particularly farming in the pursuit mining investment.
    • Enact a deliberate policy to maximize the linkages between agriculture and mining for sustainable development of rural economies,  
    • Respect the rule of law to protect the environment and community’s development interests.
    • Explore the linkages and opportunities presented by the farmer and the miner with regards to resource sharing for example water and irrigation infrastructure 

 

  1. Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining
  • Government should come up with an enabling policy and legal environment for community control and optimal benefits from mining through Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining. This is in line with Section 13 (4) on national development which requires the state to put in place mechanism to ensure communities benefit from resources in their localities.  
  • Government should ensure optimal linkages between increased ASM gold production and sustainable rural economic growth and broad based socio-economic development. 
  • There is urgent need to explore innovative mechanism to deal with wanton violence taking place in ASM. For instance, use of civil suits to compensate for medical expenses, pain and loss of income and counselling services for the victims.

 

  1. Mining and Climate Change
  • Mining companies should minimize water consumption and disclose their water consumption levels given the competing needs of the resource.
  • Local authorities should develop climate and gender sensitive actions in the extraction of resources found in their locations

 

 

Induction Workshop For the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee On Mines And Parliament Secretariat

Following the Zimbabwe Alternative Mining Indaba (ZAMI) held from 10-12 October in Bulawayo and after a special request by the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines, Hon Temba Mliswa, the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA), is Conducting an Induction Workshop For the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee On Mines And Parliament Secretariat On Mining Policy, Legislation And Institutional Frameworks. The proposed date for the one-day workshop is the 24th of October 2018 at the Monomotapa Hotel in Harare.

As ZELA we value partnering with you in leveraging mineral resources for the attainment of broad-based and sustainable economic development. Please find attached the draft agenda.

Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition calls on all Members to deliver on improving global diamond governance

For immediate release

 

Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition calls on all Members to deliver on improving global diamond governance

 

Reform is high on the agenda of this year’s Kimberley Process Plenary under EU Chairmanship. The Kimberley Process – once a pioneering tripartite effort to stop diamonds from financing rebel groups – is struggling to provide an adequate answer to numerous human rights challenges associated with the diamond sector today. 

Aware of these enormous challenges, it was decided at the 2017 Plenary meeting in Brisbane to set in motion a two-year reform exercise to tackle important issues such as strengthening the scope of the KP, setting up a dedicated secretariat to support its activities and establishing a voluntary trust fund to ensure its functioning. 

A central question on the table this week is how to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the limited and outdated scope of rough diamonds financing rebel movements that undermine legitimate governments. In this light the CSC has, together with Industry (World Diamond Council), supported Canada on a realistic proposal for a new definition that captures important concerns such as systematic and widespread violence, and illicit financing of private and public security forces. We believe that the adoption of this proposal is a logical step in rejuvenating the KP and adapting it to the requirements of a changing environment. Beyond this initiative, the CSC will keep pushing for a broader consideration of human rights violations and environmental harm in the KP system. 

“Time has now come for all participants and observers to walk the talk in order to avoid the Kimberley Process from becoming irrelevant and incredible in a world where responsible sourcing is ever more the order of the day”, said Shamiso Mtisi, Chair of the KP CSC. “Participating states must take their shared responsibility in answering the call from the UN General Assembly, in a Resolution of 7 March 2018, to strengthen the KP to better face challenges of instability and conflict and contribute to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. This plenary, with its focus on reform, provides the stage for Participants to express their commitment to guarantee consumers that the diamonds they produce or trade are not stained with blood. The KP Civil Society Coalition, representing thousands in mining affected communities, calls on them to seize this moment to prove the Kimberley Process is fit for purpose.”

The World Diamond Council is very vocal on the need to reform in this plenary. Civil Society Coalition will support WDC in its efforts to agree on an improved diamond definition and its call for change. The KP civil society coalition calls upon industry to act upon its commitment to change, both in this plenary and in its own conduct and instruments, including its renewed System of Warranties. 

“In all of this, let us make sure, in the words of EU foreign policy chief Mogherini in January of this year, that the Kimberley Process is fully part of our work for sustainable development, sustainable peace and human rights.”, concludes Shamiso Mtisi. 

 

More information

Shamiso Mtisi, coordinator of the KP Civil Society Coalition, +263 7 742 169 56

KP Civil Society disappointed by resistance to change in the Kimberley Process

Press Release

16 November 2018

For immediate release

KP Civil Society disappointed by resistance to change in the Kimberley Process

The Kimberley Process (KP) Civil Society Coalition (CSC) pushed hard for reform in the 2018 KP Brussels Plenary, with very concrete proposals, amongst others on changing the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the limited and outdated scope of rough diamonds financing rebel movements.

 

The CSC, together with industry (World Diamond Council) and Canada made a realistic proposal for a wider definition of conflict diamonds. This strong joint call to urgently adapt the KP to crucial concerns such as systematic and widespread violence, and illicit financing of private and public security forces, met with great resistance of other participating countries (“participants”) at the KP plenary. Despite the commitment to reform expressed by the 2017 Brisbane Plenary, hours were lost on discussing whether the KP should be discussing these essential issues. Exchanges on substance were consistently and deliberately blocked by a number of Participants. After much difficulty, the Plenary managed to find agreement in acknowledging that proposals were on the table and will be considered by Participants, that are moreover invited to bring more elements to the discussion.

The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition urges all participating states to engage in this discussion of scope of the Kimberley Process sooner rather than later. “This will first and foremost be beneficial to mining affected communities who count the cost of violence, human rights violations and environmental degradation, while they should be reaping the benefits from their mineral wealth.”, says Shamiso Mtisi, Chair of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition. “The resisting participants will find themselves on the wrong side of history. If not inspired by their obligations to protect human rights of the mining communities in their countries, they should at least respond to the threat of synthetic diamonds to producer country economies, and to consumers’ calls to buy responsibly sourced diamonds. If the KP does not consider the ethical, human rights and environmental impact of mining, then natural diamonds will lose their market and the economies of diamond producing countries will be badly affected.”

 

The KP Civil Society Coalition acknowledges progress on transparency of data. Confidence in the KP is at stake because confidentiality stifles transparency and accountability of the diamond industry.  Useful and credible data on rough diamond production and exports must be publicly disclosed. “Against this background, we appreciate the decision to disaggregate the public statistics on the KP website by industrial production, on the one hand, and artisanal and small-scale production, on the other”, says Shamiso Mtisi. “In furtherance of expanding the frontiers of transparency and accountability within the KP, we request that rough diamond data also be disaggregated to track or reflect gem, semi-precious and industrial rough diamonds.”

More information:

Shamiso Mtisi, Chair of the KP Civil Society Coalition, +263 7 742 169 56

KP Civil Society Coalition: 2018 Plenary Closing Speech 

KP Civil Society Coalition

2018 Plenary Closing Speech 

16 November 2018 

Brussels, Belgium 

 

Dear Participants and Observers,

 

Firstly, let me thank the European Union for successfully chairing the 2018 Plenary and for supporting the participation of CSC members. On behalf of the CSC I would also like to express our admiration and thanks to Mark Van Bockstael who will be retiring from the KP. Indeed, Mark has been a strong pillar of the KP since its inception, including working closely with the CSC in Zimbabwe when he was the KP Monitor for Zimbabwe in 2012. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2018 Plenary has ended. We have taken note of progress made by the

Adhoc Committee on Review and Reform with respect to the AD on Establishment of a Permanent Secretariat and on the AD on Peer Review. We would like to commend the Working Group on Statistics and Working Group on Artisanal and Alluvial Production for resolving to disaggregate production statistics separately for artisanal production and industrial production. However, public confidence in KP is at stake because confidentiality stifles transparency and accountability of the diamond industry. 

Reform and scope were high on this year’s agenda, and have been high on the CSC’s agenda for the last couple of years. Though progress during this plenary has been extremely slow and limited in scope, at least the joint effort by CSC and WDC, and the valuable proposals by Canada and the United States have been acknowledged in the final communique. However, we are worried that there were no substantive discussions on the Draft ADs on Expanding Scope and the one on Responsible Sourcing.

We are happy that the Communique includes an invitation to Participants and Observers to bring elements on this discussion and to the KP as a whole “to compile the submissions and consider them”. We urge participants and observers to do so sooner rather than later, with an open mind and full recognition of the need to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds beyond the limited and outdated scope of rough diamonds financing rebel movements. This will first and foremost be beneficial to mining affected communities who suffer diamond mining related violence, human rights violations and environmental degradation. 

As we have stated in our opening speech, “Comprehensive reforms on definition should include broadening the scope to include the impacts of diamond trade on human rights across the diamond pipeline and supply chain from artisanal and small-scale mining, large-scale mining, trading, cutting and polishing centres. We cannot continue ignoring the calls by various groups for trading, cutting and polishing centres and countries to adopt clear and mandatory measures to look at their supply chains, as part of responsible sourcing and prevent use of diamond revenues to commit human rights violations. This coincides with the interest of industry to ensure their consumers that they don’t buy blood stained diamonds, and with the obligation of participants to observe the human rights and environmental treaties and frameworks that they have subscribed to. 

 

The fact that this plenary has acknowledged that the KP should consider these elements leaves us with some hope that we can achieve progress. However, the slow pace to reach a consensus only on this acknowledgement leaves us worried that reforms will take place to secure the credibility of the KP over the coming years. We call upon all participants and observers to not let that happen and make significant progress in 2019. 

As CSC we are ready to work with any participant or observer to put more ideas on strengthening the scope of the KP on the table. We expect the sharing of ideas and contributions to start immediately.

We have taken note of the impact and threat of synthetic diamonds to producer country economies and livelihoods of diamond mining communities, and the disagreements on appropriate language on whether they are synthetic rough diamonds or synthetic laboratory grown diamonds. All this shows us that if the KP does not consider the ethical, human rights and environmental angle of synthetics, then rough diamonds or natural diamonds will lose the market and this means the economies of diamond producing countries will be greatly affected. 

Looking forward to next year, we hope that India as KP Chair and as host will reconsider its position on KP reforms-especially on expanding the Scope of the KP by supporting redefinition. India is known internationally for its rich jurisprudence and standard setting in human rights and environmental court cases. We expect better from India and this should be part of its priorities. 

Angola has assumed an important role as Chair of the Adhoc Committee on Reform and Review. That role requires leadership, hard work, attention to detail and an inclusive approach to get everyone to agree on reforms. This is simply no longer about word play on brother and sister or different mother or different father. We also expect Angola to address the problems related to migrant artisanal miners and traders in border areas with DRC as we stated in our Opening Statement. We will be watching developments on the ground. 

We are also encouraging the European Union as leader of the Core Document to proactively seek the views of everyone on strengthening the Scope of  the KP, and in particular finding a way to have meaningful discussions based on the three key pillars suggested by CSC, DDI and WDC and further developed by Canada on redefining conflict diamonds. 

Lastly, I would like to thank everyone for giving our members an opportunity to participate actively in all working bodies of the KP. 

 

Thank you all.

 

Shamiso Mtisi

On behalf of the KP Civil Society Coalition

PRESS STATEMENT: ARDA TRANSAU LEADER INTIMIDATED OVER A PENDING RELOCATION COURT CASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

22 JANUARY 2019          

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) is saddened by the reports of events that occurred at around 22:00hrs on the 21st January in ARDA Transau. ZELA received disturbing reports that on the said night, a group of men who identified themselves as members of the security forces intimidated and threatened the Chairperson of the ARDA Transau Relocation Development Trust, Mr. Donald Masvaure, at his place of residence with unspecified action should he continue to mobilize the community to seek legal redress in a pending court case.

The threats and intimidation came at a time when the Trustees of the ARDA Transau Relocation Development Trust, led by Mr. Masvaure were planning on convening a meeting to update the community on the progress of their case set down for hearing at the Mutare High Court on the 24th January 2019 before Justice Mwayera.  The residents are being represented by lawyers who have been instructed by ZELA.  In the said case, the Trust is seeking an order compelling the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing to furnish it with the records and all documents pertaining to the relocation of the residents of ARDA Transau from Chiadzwa. It also seeks an order compelling the same Minister to furnish information relating to the tenure system to be given to the relocated residents.

The Trust and the residents as a whole have a constitutional right to access the requested information guaranteed by the section 62 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Accordingly, the court will be persuaded on the 24th of January to make a finding that the Attorney General neglected his duties and obligation to promote, protect and uphold the Constitution and defend the public as provided for in section 114(4) of the Constitution by failing to advise the Minister of Local Government and Public Works and National Housing.

ZELA categorically condemns these unlawfully actions aimed at stopping or discouraging communities to assert their rights through the courts. It is worth noting that the residents as represented by the Trust have the right to access the courts in Zimbabwe as enshrined in section 69(3) of the Constitution.  The realisation of this right should not be discouraged through unlawful and forceful means. The threats and intimidation have no place in a constitutional democracy like Zimbabwe. ZELA calls upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to investigate the incident, identify the culprits and bring them to book in line with their constitutional mandate as provided for in section 219 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Furthermore, ZELA is concerned about the security and safety of the residents of ARDA Transau and is appealing to all the relevant authorities to give all the necessary support and protection in order to ensure that justice prevails.

END

“Environmental justice through sustainable and equitable utilization of natural resources and environmental protection”

 

ZIMBABWE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION’s PRESS STATEMENT ON THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’s DAY

ZIMBABWE ENVIRONMENTAL LAW ASSOCIATION’s PRESS STATEMENT ON THE 2019 INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’s DAY

#BalanceforBetter #LeaveNoWomanBehind #WomenCan #ResponsibleInv

The Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) would like to join the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. Indeed the 8th of March marks a very important day on the world`s calendar as the world joins hands to celebrate women`s achievements. The theme for International Women’s Day this year, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, puts innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts to achieve gender equality.

This day comes at a time when Zimbabwe is party to several treaties and conventions that promote and protect women`s rights. The country also prides itself for having laws and a Constitution that enshrines women rights and gender equality in all spheres. Several strides have been made over the years to improve and advance women`s rights with a view of achieving equality between men and women.

As ZELA guided by our Gender and Anti-sexual Harrassment Policy we have made several inroads in defending the rights of women. Much of the organization’s work revolves around our five thematic areas which are extractives and mining, local service delivery program, climate change and energy program, land and natural resources program and responsible investment and business program. We encourage and strive for equal participation and involvement of women in all our programs. Further, our programs are specifically tailored to address women`s challenges and help them assert their rights as enshrined in the Constitution. ZELA also works with several women rights movements known as the Women’s Forums at grass roots level in a bid to empower them to be involved in all facets of life.

However, be that as it may ZELA is deeply concerned about the condition and status of women in general, particularly in the mining sector. The #StopMacheteKillings campaign is a sad reminder of the rampant violence against women and girls rife in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector (ASM). ZELA affirms the need for gender sensitive government policies and legislation in the ASM sector to make is safe work space for women. The organisation notes that women and girls continue to be excluded in environmental decision-making associated with the use of natural resources. Women are reeling from the negative impacts of large scale investments in mining and extractive industries. For instance, water pollution along the Deka (Hwange coal mining), Save (Manicaland diamond mining) and Mazowe Rivers ( Mazowe gold mining) among others; loss of livelihoods from fishing (Hwange) and market gardening in Mutoko (black granite mining). At a time when oil is being explored, considering its devastating impacts on the environment as witnessed in other oil rich countries in Africa like Nigeria’s Ogoni community. ZELA thus calls for robust Gender Impact Assessments to be conducted before the decision to extract natural resources is made and continuous gender- impact monitoring conducted during the course of mining and extractive projects. ZELA continues calling for gender parity in the workplace in the mining companies at all levels.

Although the Constitution of Zimbabwe recognises property and land rights we have noted that most women have limited access to land in Zimbabwe. Most women in own land through their spouses and as such their access to land is tied up to the spouse. This in all manner and circumstances is not in tandem with the founding objective and values of the supreme law of the land. Further, the same flies on the face of International norms and standards that Zimbabwe subscribes to. We therefore motivate the government of Zimbabwe to adopt strategies and policies that increase woman`s access to land.

The most insidiously pervasive women’s rights deprivations and disparities result from increasingly regressive taxation, a mining tax regime that does not ensure mining companies pay a fair share of taxes. This women’s day we join the Global Days of Action on #TaxJustice for Women’s Rights as we continue calling for progressive reforms in the Zimbabwe’s mining tax regime and for government to make good on its statement in the Monetary Policy that Zimbabwe will join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Finally, as mega deals continue to be sought after and signed to attract the much needed FDI into our economy under the Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, ZELA calls for #ResponsibleInv in the mining sector and calls all women to sign this petition https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/responsible-investments-campaign#.W5dhoMnljTQ.twitter

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“Environmental justice through sustainable and equitable utilisation of natural resources and environmental protection”

Protect women miners from machete wars: ZELA

Protect women miners from machete wars: Zela
By Newsday

– March 11, 2019
By VENERANDA LANGA
THE Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) has expressed concern over machete wars in the gold mining sector, which they said was scaring away women miners.
In a statement yesterday, Zela urged government to come up with gender-sensitive policies and mining legislation to ensure a safe environment for females in the artisanal mining sector.

“Zela is deeply concerned about the condition and status of women in general, particularly in the mining sector, where the #StopMacheteKillings is a sad reminder of the rampant violence against women and girls in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector,” the Zela statement read.

“The organisation notes that women and girls continue to be excluded in environmental decision-making associated with the use of natural resources, where women are reeling from the negative impacts of large-scale investments in mining and extractive industries.”

They said some of the examples of effects of mining activities on women and girls included environmental impacts like water pollution, for example, along Deka in the Hwange coal mining area, Save in the Manicaland’s diamond mining area and Mazowe River in the Mazowe gold mining area where there is loss of fisheries and livelihoods, as well as in Mutoko where black granite mining is affecting market gardening.

“At a time when oil is being explored, considering its devastating impacts on the environment as witnessed in other oil-rich countries in Africa like Nigeria’s Ogoni community, Zela, thus, calls for robust gender impact assessments to be conducted before the decision to extract natural resources is made and continuous gender impact monitoring conducted during the course of mining and extractive projects.”

Zela also called for gender parity in the workplace at mining companies at all levels.

“Although the Constitution recognises property and land rights, we have noted that most women have limited access to land in Zimbabwe.

“Most women own land through their spouses and as such their access to land is tied up to the spouse.

“This, in all manner and circumstances, is not in tandem with the founding objective and values of the supreme law of the land. Further, the same flies on the face of international norms and standards that Zimbabwe subscribes to. We, therefore, call upon government to adopt strategies and policies that increase women’s access to land,” they said.

Zela also called for tax justice and progressive reforms in the mining sector to ensure government joins the extractive industries transparency initiative to enhance transparency and accountability in the mining sector.

Protect women miners from machete wars: Zela