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Transcript of HOMELESS, LANDLESS, AND DESTITUTE · PDF fileWe are now homeless, landless, and destitute.......

  • HOMELESS, LANDLESS, AND DESTITUTEThe Plight of Zimbabwes Tokwe-Mukorsi Flood Victims

    H U M A N

    R I G H T S

    W A T C H

  • Homeless, Landless, and Destitute The Plight of Zimbabwes Tokwe-Mukorsi Flood Victims

  • Copyright 2015 Human Rights Watch All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America ISBN: 978-1-6231-32286 Cover design by Rafael Jimenez Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.

    Human Rights Watch is an international organization with staff in more than 40 countries, and offices in Amsterdam, Beirut, Berlin, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Goma, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Tokyo, Toronto, Tunis, Washington DC, and Zurich. For more information, please visit our website: http://www.hrw.org

  • FEBRUARY 2015 978-1-6231-32286

    Homeless, Landless, and Destitute The Plight of Zimbabwes Tokwe-Mukorsi Flood Victims

    List of Abbreviations and Acronyms ................................................................................. 1

    Summary ......................................................................................................................... 1

    Map of Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam and Nuanetsi Ranch, Zimbabwe ........................................... 5

    Recommendations ........................................................................................................... 6 To the Government of Zimbabwe .............................................................................................. 6 To the African Union (AU) .......................................................................................................... 7 To United Nations Agencies, the European Union (EU), and International Donors ....................... 7

    Methodology ................................................................................................................... 8

    I. Background ................................................................................................................ 10 Dam Construction, Changing Resettlement Plans .................................................................... 10 The Flooding and Forced Evictions .......................................................................................... 12 Disputed Resettlement Land Ownership.................................................................................. 14

    II. Human Rights Problems after the Floods .................................................................... 17 Inadequate Food, Shelter, Sanitation ...................................................................................... 17 Lack of Compensation, Right to Choose Residence ................................................................. 20 Lack of Durable Resettlement Conditions ................................................................................ 23 Government Misuse of Humanitarian Aid ................................................................................ 24 Coercion, Use of Force, Harassment, and Arrests .................................................................... 26

    III. United Nations Agencies Response .......................................................................... 30

    IV. Legal Standards ........................................................................................................ 32 National Standards ................................................................................................................. 32 International Standards .......................................................................................................... 33

    Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................... 36

    Annexes......................................................................................................................... 37

  • List of Abbreviations and Acronyms

    ARVs Anti-retroviral drugs

    AU African Union

    CPU Civil Protection Unit

    DA District Administrator

    DTZ Development Trust of Zimbabwe

    ECD Early Childhood Development

    IDP Internally Displaced Persons

    IOM International Organization for Migration

    SADC Southern African Development Community

    UNOCHA United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance

    WFP World Food Programme

    ZANU PF Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front

    ZBE Zimbabwe Bio-Energy Company

    ZBC Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation

    ZHRC Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission

    ZINWA Zimbabwe National Water Authority

  • 1 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH | FEBRUARY 2015

    Summary

    We are now homeless, landless, and destitute.... I see no reason to live. I lost everything.

    Retired soldier and flood victim, Kenneth Hlavano, Chingwizi resettlement, Section C, June 12, 2014

    In February 2014, Zimbabwes immense Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam basin flooded following heavy rains. Under construction since 1998, the 1.8 million cubic liter dam is intended to provide irrigation and electricity to communities in the semi-arid southern Masvingo province. It is currently slated for completion by the end of 2015. President Robert Mugabe immediately declared the floods a national disaster and appealed to the international community for US$20 million to help relocate and provide humanitarian assistance to those affected. Shortly after the flooding, the Zimbabwe army and the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) relocated over 20,000 people (around 3,300 families) from the flooded Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam basin to Chingwizi camp on Nuanetsi Ranch in Masvingos Mwenezi district. The government shut down the camp in August in an attempt to permanently relocate the families on a different part of Nuanetsi Ranch where each family was allocated a one-hectare plot of land. The families would now have significantly less land than they previously owned when they were in Masvingo. Masvingo Provincial Affairs Minister Kudakwashe Bhasikiti, said the families, in their new Nuanetsi location, would only grow sugar cane for a planned government-owned ethanol project. The reasoning behind families being asked to grow sugar cane was that it would help the project achieve profitability quicker than if families were given option to grow other crops. Bhasikiti said that because the Tokwe-Mukorsi dam is still under construction, it would take about seven years for the ethanol project a sugar cane irrigation scheme to be established, during which time, flood victims say, they will have no source of livelihood. Bhasikiti said the families were resettled there to enable them to benefit from the sugar cane irrigation scheme when it eventually becomes operational.

  • HOMELESS, LANDLESS, AND DESTITUTE 2

    Today, a year after the disaster, these 3,300 families are completely dependent on aid for food and shelter on Nuanetsi Ranch, and are unable to build permanent homes as ownership of the land is in dispute. This report is based research conducted between March and August 2014 in Chingwizi camp, Masvingo, and in Harare with flood victims, a government minister, local authorities, lawyers, human rights activists, representatives of five nongovernmental organizations that provided services at the camp between February and August when government shut down the camp. In addition, Human Rights Watch interviewed national journalists and representatives of United Nations agencies in Zimbabwe. The report documents human rights issues related to the dam project, conditions at Chingwizi camp to which the flood victims were initially relocated, abuses related to the resettlement of the flood victims, including the governments failure to compensate many of them and to grant them the right to have a say in the decision regarding their residence. The report also explores the governments misuse of humanitarian aid to coerce flood victims to accept official resettlement plans and documents the resettlement of the flood victims on Nuanetsi Ranch where they are unable to build homes or grow crops of their choice as the title of the land is in dispute. The report found that from the outset, the dam project was fraught with human rights problems, which have multiplied since the floods and the relocation of those in the waters path. Before construction, the government did not adequately consult local residents about their needs, or the effect the dam would have on their lives. After the floods, Zimbabwes government failed to protect flood victims rights, or honor promises regarding compensation and resettlement. Furthermore, both the Masvingo provincial government and the central government have coerced the displaced to accept the one-hectare sites (instead of the five-hectare sites initially promised) with violence, harassment, and in some cases restricting access to water, food, and other essentials. Food assistance will only be given to those families who agree to move to their permanent plots, because we need to decongest Chingwizi temporary camp, Minister for Local Government Ignatious Chombo said in early April.

    Between May 20 and 23, for example, armed soldiers demolished food storage warehouses at Chingwizi camp and relocated th