BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
THE Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association (Zela) has petitioned Parliament to urgently review laws that promote sustainable in environmental practices by mining corporations.
The organisation said it was concerned by the rate of environmental degradation within the mining sector and the prevalence of human rights violations by mining corporations in Zimbabwe.
It also said it was alarmed by government’s administrative lethargy in promoting responsible investments within the extractive sector.
“Desirous of seeing responsible investment that ensures that Zimbabwean mining laws conform to international and regional standards, norms and principles to which Zimbabwe
is a signatory, now, therefore, the petitioners beseech the Parliament of Zimbabwe to implore the Executive to uphold the Constitution by ensuring mining sector investments
are in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution and international obligations and standards,” reads part of the petition.
Zimbabwe’s mining sector together with agriculture and tourism are expected to anchor growth of the economy.
“However, while commonly presented as a sector providing development opportunities for the national government and local communities, mining activities in Zimbabwe have
repeatedly triggered a myriad of problems such as livelihood shifts, displacements from ancestral lands and insidious social, cultural, environmental, and economic
changes,” it said.
Zela believes that policies should be suitably tailored to promote intra and inter-generational equity in the mining sector.
“Without the necessary legal basis, local communities in Zimbabwe will continue to suffer at the hands of mining corporations,” the petition reads.
“A mutually beneficial partnership between the State, the private sector, civil society, local communities and other stakeholders must be developed. Harnessing mineral
resources for economic development and community empowerment is critical in addressing the poverty scourge and improving the quality of life for all Zimbabweans as envisioned by section 13 of the Constitution.”
Zela appealed to Parliament to investigate, punish and redress human rights abuses occasioned by mining sector investments.