Rights In Action Weekly Update: 16 July 2021

Bulawayo – Gwanda road under threat from artisinal mining activity

Just 8km from Gwanda Town towards Bulawayo, artisanal miners are carving in under the main tarred road creating a human rights and infrastructural risk.

A Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights (MIHR) assessment of the area shows that artisanal miners have begun digging under the busy road and parts of the railway line are also being carved under.

Bulawayo – Gwanda Road is a major highway which is part of the Beitbridge – Victoria Falls Highway and it is said to be one of the major busy roads in Zimbabwe. The road is critical for social and economic development of Zimbabwe. In National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) Zimbabwe is expecting the mining and quarrying industry to contribute 8% of the GDP by year 2025 and intends to formulate and implement the Artisanal Small Scale Gold Mining Policy to facilitate enhanced exploitation of gold deposits.

Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights has engaged the responsible environmental authorities and alerted them on the situation and has also called for urgent action to police and manage the situation. Meanwhile, MIHR will continue to monitor the situation in order to protect the rights of the Insindi villagers who live close by to where these events are happening.

Source: Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights

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