For the past 18 years Zimbabwe’s much-needed Land Reform Programme has opened up access to land-based resources for over five million black Zimbabweans – land that had formerly been in the hands of white commercial farmers. But in 2012, human rights violations perpetrated during the reforms led to the formation of the Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement – a movement that has successfully defended the rights of 10,000 families.
During the reforms, bloodshed and gross human rights violations have seen Zimbabwe’s land reform programme blacklisted by both local and international actors. Successive governments have fallen short on policy and structures to support the programme and its intended beneficiaries, while the ruling party has used it to manipulate voters and violate their rights.
The Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement (ZPLRM) – alongside partner organisations, practitioners, academics and most importantly beneficiaries whose rights have been violated – has documented various land rights violation cases, raising awareness of them with the relevant authorities, gathering petitions, and holding meetings and on-the-ground assessments – reports from which have been shared with stakeholders and used for policy recommendations. Up to January 2019, ZPLRM has prevented the evictions of over 10,000 people through its advocacy and lobbying work.
“Land is at the centre of most of the socio-political conflicts in the world today and agrarian/urban reforms are key to several struggles in different continents. Mobilizing a wide range of social actors, documenting and exposing human rights violations and making policy recommendations are certainly inspiring strategies that the Zimbabwe People’s Land Rights Movement are putting forward.”
– Lorena Zárate
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