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Experience sharing with farm workers
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
November 08, 2011

ZimRights conducted a community Human Rigths workshop in the community of Chitsuwa farm: Ward One in Karoi, Mashonaland West Province.

The program was one in a series of the organisation's efforts to complement GAPWUZ in equipping commercial farm workers with skills to demand the right to own means of production. The idea is to lobby for an increment and the general improvement of the socio-economic life of farm workers as communities.

Outlined below are some of the conditions that were noted at the event that was attended by 200 people:

  • Workers at the farm are treated as slaves, most of the time they spent the whole day standing and are only getting $45 a month. Most of the time, the farm workers finish work after 7:00pm. A certain man, identified as Isaiah Chiroto, who is supervisor at the farm said that he has worked for over 12 years on this farm but he does not own any property because of the low wages.
  • There are no toilets at the farm for the workers and they use bush toilets, raising health issues.
  • Early and child marriages are rife in the area. Unfortunately, farm workers are unaware of the rights matters related to these early marriages and their implications on statutory rape, safety issues for the girl child and the perpetuation of poverty.

ZimRights is advocating for the foundations for democracy, economic development, sustainable peace, accountability and corporate social responsibility in the farming sector - foundation that will ultimately lead to the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. Employers are also reminded that Zimbabwe is a free country which has laws, they must respect human rights.

Having noted of the obtaining situation, participants were advised to engage their local leadership for assistance in this case the councillor, Mr. Mutandwa who was among the crowd. The councillor himself was requested to chip in, through, even informal interactions with both parties so as to rescue the rights of the community which he represents. ZimRights also appeals to the government to enforce existing labour related legislations that obliges employers or commercial farmers in particular to uplift the welfare of employees to a certain defined standard in line with labour laws.

Visit the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) fact sheet

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