Delegates from seven SADC countries met in Harare to attend the Southern African Regional
Conference on Farm Workers Human Rights and Security from the 10th to the 14th of September
2001. The conference noted with concern that:
- Farm workers constituted a significant proportion (10 - 20%) of the population of individual
SADC countries, but they continue to marginalised and excluded from mainstream development
throughout the region
Farm workers constitute the most vulnerable group and live in abject poverty despite their
important role to the economic development of the region
In light of the above observations and concerns, the delegates recommended that:
National Governments should ensure that the living and working conditions and security of
farm worker communities is acted upon and improved
Weak Labour Legislation
The Conference expressed concern that despite the fact that most SADC countries are party to
the International Labour Organisations conventions to protect all wage employees. There
still exist :
Discriminatory labour laws that marginalise farm workers throughout the region
Weak legislative and policy provisions that do not protect farm workers
Delegates therefore called upon national Governments and SADC to put in place legislation
and policies that protect and benefit Farm Workers.
The delegates noted with concern that:
The majority of farm workers in the region are third or forth generation migrants from
neighbouring countries and contributed immensely to the economy of their host countries,
but they are still considered as foreigners in these countries.
Delegates therefore call on member states to extend citizenship rights to the affected farm
Basic Human Rights
Delegates noted that Farm Workers in all SADC countries do not enjoy the same basic human
rights as their counterparts. National Governments consider farm Workers as second class
Delegates therefore call upon civil society, the Private Sector and other relevant
stakeholders to strengthen national and regional bodies in articulating the human rights of
Women (Female) Farm Workers/dwellers
Delegates noted with concern the vulnerability of female farm workers and called upon
Governments, civil society, and the Private Sector to develop programmes, activities and
polices to protect the female farm workers from poverty and oppression.
Delegates expressed concern at the extent and impact of HIV/AIDS in the farm communities
and the inadequate resources available to these communities
Delegates call upon Governments in the region:
to put in place policies, legislation and programmes that provide farm workers and their
families with free/ subsidised access to treatment.
To sponsor extensive education campaigns on HIV/AIDS in farm communities to influence
behviour and attitude change
Child Labour and Child Abuse
Delegates expressed concern at the increase in the use of child labour and child abuse
throughout the region despite the fact that the SADC member states are party to the Charter
on the Rights of the Child. Delegates were also concerned about the absence of clear
legislation and policies to punish the perpetrators of such acts.
Delegates called upon governments in the region, Labour Federations, civil society and
community groups to lobby and advocate for legislation to protect the rights of the child
in line with the provisions of the Charter on the Rights of the child.
Globalization and the plight of farm workers
Delegates note with concern the negative impact of globalization caused by some of the
agricultural and trade agreements, which have further marginalised the farm-workers. The
delegates call upon SADC Governments to develop policies legislation, programs and
activities, that seek to protect and cushion the poor in general and farm-workers in
particular against the negative effects of globalization.
Delegates call upon the SADC governments to intensify the campaign for the existing debt
cancellation and compensation for colonial injustices and to channel funds towards the
improvement of social services infrastructure especially in farm communities.
Delegates note with concern the growing xenophobia in the region and its effects on
farm-workers. Delegates further note that xenophobia runs counter to the principles and
ideals of African Renaissance. The delegates call upon all national governments throughout
the SADC region to put in place, laws, policies and programs to eliminate all forms of
discrimination especially against farm workers. Furthermore delegates call upon the SADC
summit to expedite the move for a fully-fledged regional community with SADC citizenship.
Farm Workers and Land Reform
The conference acknowledges the historical injustices in terms of land disposition in the
region, and the various governments' attempts to address them. However, delegates note with
concern the systematic exclusion of farm workers from the process of land reform and land
redistribution. Delegates therefore call upon all SADC governments: to implement transparent
and gender sensitive land reform programs and ensure that the farm-workers are considered
for resettlement under the land reform programs. Further more delegates condemn the abuse of
farm-workers political, social and economic rights by political parties, governments, and
farm owners especially during land redistribution exercises. Delegates call upon all
national governments to protect and promote the human rights of farm workers in line with
the various international conventions they are party to.
Delegates call for the holding of a regional Summit comprising governments, farm-worker
representatives and supporting civic society organizations where issues of the plight of
farm-workers could be discussed and governments make undertakings on dealing with the plight
of the farm-workers human rights and security.
Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe
Box HG 690
Tele Fax: 263 04 498326/ 498332