Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Invisible suffering of farm workers

from Kubatana (archive):

It represents the views of only a small section of the 1.8 million people that lived and worked on Zimbabwe's commercial farms. However, the continued gathering of data means that in time we will be able to paint a detailed picture of the lives of farm workers across the country, as they struggled over the last nine years with State-sponsored invasions, torture, violent assaults, murders, rapes, evictions and other violations of the law and their rights. For the moment, though, the data presented here makes no claim to be statistically representative.

Nevertheless, what emerges makes sobering reading. The prevalence of human rights violations recorded by the sample in this survey is disturbing. The data also shows that earlier estimates by farmers of the violations experienced by their workers appear to be largely consistent with estimates made by the workers themselves. This lends further credibility to extremely high figures of violation prevalence. The fact, for example, that 1 in 10 of the present respondents report at least one murder amongst fellow farm workers, and that 38% of respondents report that children on the farms were forced to watch public beatings or torture, shows the extent to which Robert Mugabe's regime is responsible for an extensive series of crimes that were both widespread and systematic: the very definition of crimes against humanity.,,


The reason I posted this link was the end of the previous article mentioned Mugabe's land reform, describing it thus:

Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks has been blamed for ruining the southern African country's once prosperous economy.

The veteran leader, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies the charges, saying the economic crisis was caused by Western countries opposed to his land reforms.

The reality of course was that a lot of folks lived on those farms, and instead of giving them the farm (e.g. as a coop, with the white farmer to advise them) they were often chased off and the farm given to big shots.

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