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Marange Diamond Land and Human Rights abuses, Zimbabwe


Marange diamond fields were known to the public in 2006, triggering a diamond rush which lasted for 3 to 4 years. At the height of artisanal mining in 2008 an estimated 40 000 artisanal miners and diggers were now living in the diamond fields. However, without warning, government deployed the army into Marange in November 2008 to violently put to an end artisanal mining. What followed was a massacre of local diggers and dealers. The community was not spared either the violence spread to several villages and communities around the diamond fields. Human Rights Watch estimate that about 200 miners were killed, though this figure could be way below the actual, given that some were buried inside the diamond fields, whilst hundreds more died in hospitals and in their homes and were not recorded as having died in Marange. Hundreds of women were raped by the uniformed forces and hundreds more were forced to have unprotected sex with artisanal miners in full view of fellow captives. The method of torture against artisanal miners has continued to this day. Although violence by the army has significantly gone down, private security guards, mainly recruited from ZANU PF structures continue to terrorize miners.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Marange Diamond Land and Human Rights abuses, Zimbabwe
State or province:Manicaland
Location of conflict:Marange District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Mineral ore exploration
Tailings from mines
Military installations
Mineral processing
Specific commodities:Diamonds

Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Diamonds worth over 2.5 billion dollars are being mined in Marange annually

Project area:120000
Level of Investment:1000000000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:700,000 - 1,000,000
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:Anjin Investments from China
Diamond Mining Corporation from United Arab Emirates
Mbada Diamonds from Zimbabwe
Marange Resources from Zimbabwe
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe National Army, Zimbabwe Republic Police, Central Intelligence Organization, Marange Rural District Council, Marange Traditiona
International and Finance InstitutionsUN Kimberley Process (KP)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Kimberly Process, Center for Natural Resource Governance, Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association, Chiadzwa Community Development Association
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Trade unions
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Mine tailing spills
Potential: Air pollution, Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Genetic contamination, Global warming, Oil spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition, Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases, Deaths, Other environmental related diseases
Potential: Accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Environmental improvements, rehabilitation/restoration of area
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:In line with the Joint Work Plan developed by Zimbabwe and the KPCS in Namibia in 2009, government must create a legal framework allowing artisanal miners to operate legally in Marange
Mobilizers are also calling for the complete withdrawal of the army from Marange
Prosecution of all persons accused of perpetrating violence in Marange. Government must consult affected families where they desire to be resettled ie district, village etc or whether they wish to relocate to an urban area. There is need to fully compensate the affected families for loss of ancestral homes, loss of livelihoods, loss of education, loss of cultural heritage, loss of burial shrines etc
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Whilst there has been some rehabilitation of forests, especially by Anjin, Marange is still experiencing serious environmental degradation according to local activists and workers. Further, a recent report by Environmental Law Association revealed that Maran ge diamond mining companies are seriously polluting rivers, thereby exposing humans and livestock downstream to health risks. Meanwhile, there is overcrowding in Arda Transau leading to over-grazing and environmental degradation.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Land Occupation Conditions Act

Rural land Act

Rural Land Occupiers Act

Agriculture and Rural Development Act

Rural District Councils Act

Agricultural Land Settlement Act

Communal land Act

Environmental Management Act

land Acquisition Act

Mines and Minerals Act

Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Act

Provincial Councils and Administration Act

Traditional leaders Act

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Diamonds in the rough zimbabwe0609webwcover_0.pdf
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Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

villagers demand US$50k each/news.aspx
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Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

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Other comments:It is also alleged that there is such lawlessness in the area to the extend that some small scale miners are exploring on the other peoples private property and when they discover chrome they start mining. This has seen a rise in mining related conflicts and violence
Meta information
Contributor:Farai Maguwu
Last update08/04/2014
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