The “Forced to Leave: Commercial Farming and Displacement in Zambia” report finds that the people displaced by the commercial farms lose access to food, water, shelter and schools.

“Many families had to move to areas with poor quality soil and could no longer grow sufficient food. They were pushed further away from water sources, burdening women and girls in particular with spending far more time gathering water from distant streams. Many children had to drop out of school because their new homes were too far away and the new area did not have a school.” HRW in a news release.

The commercial farmers, who in some cases now hold thousands of hectares of land, have failed to live up to Zambian laws that require them to protect the environment and fairly compensate people when their land is taken. In at least one case, two mothers were sentence to three months in prison – with their children – after they refused to leave their land and were convicted of criminal trespassing.

“The government needs to take dramatic and rapid action to ramp up enforcement of its own laws and regulations. They need to stop forced evictions, and ensure that displaced families are able to secure a remedy for human rights abuses.” Juliana Nnoko-Mewanu, report author

The 101-page Human Rights Watch report is available in English or Bemba.

This post was originally published at PAEPARD and has been republished with permission.

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