Different ethnic, linguistic and indigenous communities of Zimbabwe across the length and breadth of the country, are either currently facing gross human rights violations or have already experienced them as a consequence of the country’s development trajectory. These violations include forced displacements; land dispossession; livelihoods disruptions; pollution of water and environment; abuse of workers’ rights; threats and arrests of frontline human rights defenders; as well as violation of cultural rights.
Impact of relocations and displacements
The impact of these relocations and displacements goes beyond the statistics of number of households, people, schools, boreholes, animals and size of land to be lost. Relocations and displacements result in:
- Loss of arable farming land for the community members. This is the land they have been nurturing and fertilizing for a long period of time, in some cases for over 50 years now.
- Disruption of social, cultural and religious values and systems of local people which they have nurtured and passed on for generations and generations as local identity symbols.
- Psychological trauma and stress to all the community members (women, men, youths, children and the elderly);
- Loss of livelihoods, indigenous knowledge systems and adaptive capacities of the local indigenous and ethnic communities which in-turn worsens poverty and vulnerability.
- Destruction of social, cultural, religious and environmental ties of the local communities. These ties are a strategic community asset which enables the resilience of the ethnic and indigenous communities.
- Distortion and disruption of community leadership systems and mechanisms thus exacerbating inter and intra community conflicts.
- Worsening feelings and attitudes of hatred and xenophobia against international investors and their workers.
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Source: Matabeleland Institute for Human Rights