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Mining Firms Ignore Traditional Life, Violate Rights of Villagers

Jun 23, 2014 9:15 AM   By Jeff Miller
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RAPAPORT... The President of the Chiefs' Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira of Zimbabwe, told a mining indaba hosted by Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association this past week that Chiadzwa's diamond troubles are deepening as companies continue to ignore traditional leaders and local cultures. 

The Zimbabwe Standard newspaper quoted the chief saying, "You know, some of these things are spiritual. It is unfortunate that the government did not consult traditional leaders on how to extract the diamonds. The diamonds are on our traditional land. There are supposed to be rituals done first in order to appease the spirits.  The land belongs to us and the diamonds are ours. We are the ancestors of this land where diamonds lie on, but, the government decided to go it alone. Look now there are so many problems in Chiadzwa."

Charumbira added that mining companies are violating cultural rituals and rights, displace the villagers, pollute the environment and bring suffering to everyone.

Chief Gilbert Marange, added that even with diamonds on their traditional land they are the nation's poorest. He demanded that local chiefs be on the board of each mining firm, according to The Standard.

Villagers have also accused security officers, who protect the diamond mines, of violating their rights and assaulting and torturing residents under the misconception that locals are illegally digging for diamonds. Some villagers in attendance at the meeting vowed they would be taking legal action, according to the newspaper. 

Tags: diamonds, fairtrade, human rights, Jeff Miller, Marange, mining, mutare, Zimbabwe
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