Press Statement on the Research and Information Mission of the African Commission Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights in the Republic of Zambia

    Following authorization by the Government of the Republic of Zambia, a delegation from the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights’ (the Commission) special mechanism, the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights (the Working Group), undertook a Research and Information Mission to the Republic of Zambia from 13 to 17 January 2014. This Mission was conducted in line with its mandate under Resolution 148 adopted by the Commission at the 46th Ordinary Session held in Banjul, The Gambia from 11 to 25 November 2009.

    The mandate calls for the Working Group to examine the impact of extractive industries in Africa from a human rights perspective. In order to carry out this mandate, the Working Group decided to undertake Research and Information Missions with the view to gather information on possible violations of human and peoples’ rights in the extractive industry in Africa. The Zambian Mission was the Working Group’s first mission of this kind.

    The delegation comprised:

    ·         Honorable Commissioner Pacifique Manirakiza, Chairperson of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights; head of the delegation.

    ·         Honorable Commissioner Lawrence Mute, Member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights;

    ·         Professor Michelo Hansungule, Expert Member of the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights; and

    ·         Mr. Josua Loots, Project Manager and assistant to the Working Group on Extractive Industries, Environment and Human Rights.

    To facilitate logistics on the ground, the Mission engaged Mr. Kenny Kangwa and Mr. Landilani Banda, for Solwezi and Lusaka respectively.

    During the Mission, the delegation met with various stakeholders at the levels of central and local government, traditional leaders, community representatives, civil society and community based organizations, prominent individuals, private extractive companies, as well as other actors involved in the promotion and protection of human rights.

    Due to the nature of the extractive industries in Zambia, the delegation had first to visit Solwezi, the provincial town of the North Western Province. Traditionally, the Copperbelt Province has served as the main stay of Zambia’s copper industry. This has lately been rivaled by the North West Province. The discovery of new minerals in this province has attracted several investors from various parts of the world. The delegation spent three days in the North West province interacting, inter alia, with traditional leaders, affected communities, civic leaders and others, after which it traveled to Lusaka, the capital of the Republic of Zambia.

    In Lusaka, the delegation held meetings and consultations with the following State institutions:

    ·           The Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

    ·         The Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection;

    ·         The Ministry of Justice;

    ·         The Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development;

    ·         The Zambian Human Rights Commission;

    ·         Zambian Environmental Management Agency;

    8. The delegation also met with representatives of civil society and community based organizations working on extractive industries and environmental issues in Zambia, including:

    ·         ActionAid Zambia;

    ·         Amnesty International Zambia;

    ·         Caritas Zambia;

    ·         Zambian Council of Churches;

    ·         Zambia Land Alliance;

    ·         Zambia Alliance of Women;

    ·         Natural Resources Consultative Forum;

    ·         Community-based Natural Resources Management;

    ·         Save the Children;

    ·         Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia;

    ·         Centre for Trade, Policy and Development;

    ·         Extractive Industry Transparency Alliance;

    ·         Diakonia Council of Churches

    ·         GIZ Zambia; and

    ·         Catholic Diocese of Ndola.

    The Mission ended with courtesy calls with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Justice.

    After the various visits and exchanges, and without in any way pre-empting the contents of the report to be prepared following this mission, the Working Group notes with appreciation the attention given to issues pertaining to the extractive industries, environment and human rights in Zambia by all relevant stakeholders. While much has been achieved in relation to these issues, much remains to be done. Several challenges remain towards the realization of human and peoples’ rights in the Republic of Zambia as guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

    The delegation wishes to thank the Government of the Republic of Zambia and its people for its warm reception, hospitality and for making it possible for the Mission to accomplish its task. The delegation is grateful to the Government for its assistance rendered to the mission throughout the visit. Of particular mention is the assistance government rendered to the Mission in Lusaka. The Working Group will deliberate over the information gathered throughout the Mission, and produce a Mission Report, which will be submitted and presented to the Commission for consideration at its 55th Ordinary Session. The report will also inform the final comprehensive report on extractive industries, environment and human rights in Africa, which will be submitted to the Commission.

    Done in Lusaka, Zambia, 20th January 2014

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      Date: 27 January 2014

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