Recommendations on Development-induced Displacements in Zimbabwe
Development-induced displacement is a worldwide social and economic problem. In China, 70 million people were displaced between 1950 and 2000, while 50 million were affected in India. A study carried out by the World Bank shows that in the majority of cases, standards of living have declined and poverty increased among the affected people. Especially in developing countries, rural communities with weak land rights face risks of being displaced by infrastructure development projects (e.g. dam constructions), urban development and expansion projects, or large-scale business projects (e.g. mining, timber and agriculture). Displacements lead to loss of land and property and have a negative impact on the livelihoods and socio-economic development of the affected people, if they are not cushioned by appropriate relocation, compensation and rehabilitation programmes. As a result, affected communities often resist and in some instances conflicts with the responsible authorities delay critical development projects. A survey conducted by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee indicates that 8% of the population have been affected by internal displacement between 2000 and 2007, but Zimbabwe is still to adopt any legislation and/or policy specifically targeted at the protection of Internally Displaced People (IDP) and people affected by Development-Induced Displacement (DID). Although Zimbabwe signed the African Union Convention on the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa (Kampala Convention), it has not been ratified and domesticated yet. New government policies geared towards rural development, economic growth and foreign investment call for a complementing review and harmonization of legislation, policies and practices designed to protect the rights and livelihoods of rural communities affected by development projects. This position paper identifies four main areas of concern and presents key recommendations on how to mitigate negative impact and conflicts caused by development-induced displacements in Zimbabwe.