The Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) has condemned the use of guns by police to scare away unarmed mine workers.
This follows an incident in which two women from Hwange were shot by stray bullets fired by the police as they scared away informal coke traders at Number 2, Section A, in Madumabisa village slurry dam.
The stray bullets hit Zulani Mudenda (46) in the stomach and Twabona Nyoni (25) in the chest who were returning home from taking a bath at a community bath facility.
CNRG communications officer Simiso Mlevu, in a statement, said the incident points to the intensification of human rights violations in the extractive sector and lack of respect for human life by the country’s security forces.
“The conduct of the police is deplorable and is contrary to the rhetoric of the government of Zimbabwe on promoting and protecting human rights, including women’s rights as stipulated in regional and global frameworks that GoZ is part of (SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, CEDAW, Maputo Protocol), ” she said.
“The Constitution of the Zimbabwe obligates the State and every person, including juristic persons, and every institution and agency of the government at every level to respect, protect, promote and fulfil the rights and freedoms set out in the Constitution.”
Mlevu reiterated that the thoughtless and indiscriminate shooting of civilians witnessed in Hwange, revokes traumatic memories of killings which happened in Marange.
The civic society organisation called on the government of Zimbabwe to uphold the Constitution by promoting and protecting the rights of communities affected by destructive mining.
“Artisanal coke extractors and traders are forced by the economic crisis to engage in informal trading in order to sustain their families,” she said.
“The government should therefore thoroughly investigate the case and hold those responsible to account. It should compensate victims of torture and police brutality.”
She further urged the Zimbabwe Gender Commission to investigate the abuse of women in the affected mining communities and develop concrete recommendations that would address the vulnerability of women.
“Listen to the voice of women who have been disproportionately affected by mining, and facilitate implementation of meaningful, women-driven interventions that address the plight of women,” Mlevu said.