Human Rights Watch

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Zambia: Commercial Farms Displace Rural Communities

Poor Government Oversight Enables Forced Evictions

Wednesday 25 October 2017


(Lusaka, October 25, 2017) – The Zambian government is failing to protect the rights of rural residents displaced by large commercial farms in Serenje district, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Some commercial farmers have acquired thousands of hectares of land while ignoring legal provisions meant to protect the environment and ensure local communities are compensated if their land is taken. Some commercial farms have forcibly evicted residents whose families have farmed the land for generations.

The report, "Forced to Leave: Commercial Farming and Displacement in Zambia," examines the impact of commercial farms on residents' rights to health, housing, livelihood, food and water security, and education. It examines how women have been disproportionately affected and often excluded from negotiations with commercial farmers. Based on more than 130 interviews with rural residents affected by commercial farming, the report examines the human rights record of six commercial farms that exemplify much larger failures of rights protection and governance. It also draws on interviews with government officials, commercial farmers, advocates, and lawyers. 

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