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Marange villagers demand relocation

VILLAGERS in Marange are demanding relocation in protest against being put in a restriction camp under the Protected Places and Areas Act (PPAA).

The villagers, who said PPAA had subjected the area to underdevelopment, triggering increased human rights violations, made the call through community-based organisations (CBOs) and civic society organisations (CSOs) operating in Marange.

They also threatened to protest on November 15 over the PPAA issue.

“We are demanding review of General Notice of 180 of 2007 placing Chiadzwa under PPAA, according to section 6(2) of the PPAA. The conditions and compliance to it, therefore, are leading to violation of human rights,” the Marange CSOs and CBOs said in a statement.

“Unjustifiable or unreasonable limitation of constitutional rights, section 86(3) provides that no law may limit the following rights enshrined in the Bill of Rights and no person may violate them: the right to life, the right to dignity, the right not to be tortured or subjected to cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. These rights are violated daily in Marange.

“(Development is lagging in) Marange community because Mutare Rural District Council is not at liberty to undertake development without permission from the diamond concession holders. The process is arduous and unsustainable.”

They added: “We demand to be relocated if the PPAA conditions are not reviewed. We did not ask to be in a protected area or under the military. Mining companies in Marange must strengthen their own security capabilities. Government committed to a phased withdrawal of the military in Marange in 2009, but Marange has remained heavily militarised.”

Mines minister Winston Chitando was not reachable for comment, neither did he respond to questions sent to him.

Some of the CBOs and CSOs operating in Marange include Marange Development Trust, Chiadzwa Community Development Trust, Bocha Community Development Trust, Centre for Research and Development, Centre for Natural Resources Governance, Zimbabwe Diamond Allied Workers Union, among others. – (Newsday)

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