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Press Statement: Concerns by the Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association on the operations by Surewin Investments in Mutoko on community rights.

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For Immediate Release

19 April 2017

Following concerns from the Mutoko communities regarding the operations of Surewin Investments, which is mining black granite in Nyamutsahuni village in Mutoko, ZELA carried out a field visit in the area and established the following concerns:

We note the following concerns:

• Surewin Investments is mining within the backyards of Spelile David, a 64-year-old woman and Sinate Ndowa, a 79-year-old male. These operations have exposed them to noise pollution and safety dangers, which violate their constitutional rights to a clean and safe environment that is not harmful to health and well-being.

• The company has failed to comply with its Environmental Management Plan approved by the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) on the 18th of December 2016 where the company indicated its mitigatory measures of relocating the adequate compensation and this has left the family food insecure.

• Evidence shared by Spelile David highlighted that the company only paid her US$ 300 as compensation for both the property and agricultural produce that was still to be harvested. This is against the principle of Free, Prior Informed Consent which is a principle in international law that stipulates that a community has the right to give or withhold its consent to proposed projects that may affect the lands they customarily own, occupy or otherwise use.

To protect and fulfill the rights of these affected community members; there is need for immediate action that includes:

1. Immediate cessation of mining operations in Nyamutsahuni Village by Surewin Investments, pending:

a) Independent and transparent evaluation of the affected two homesteads’ properties and assets followed by free, prior and informed consultation and agreement on the compensation; and

b) Relocation of the affected families that follows the due process of the law as provided by Section 73 of the Constitution. A court order is necessary for purposes of ensuring that the environmental rights of the families are promoted.

2. Surewin Investments to respect right to dignity and environmental rights of the families in accordance with the Constitution.

3. The Environmental Management Agency to monitor the implementation of the Environmental Management Plan and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to look into the violation of these families’ constitutional rights to dignity and clean environment.