Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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Dutch farmers demand US$23m compensation

Dutch farmers demand US$23m compensation

02/10/2012 00:00:00
by Radio Netherlands

A GROUP of Dutch farmers who were forced off their land in Zimbabwe has 
launched a campaign to force the government to pay them compensation.

The group lost their land between 2000 and 2002 when Zimbabwe embarked on 
controversial land reforms. They did not receive any compensation which the 
group claimed was a violation of the Investment Protection Agreement (IBO) 
which the Netherlands had made with Zimbabwe.

They took their case to the International Centre for the Settlement of 
Investment Disputes (ICSID), a Washington-based court which operates under 
the aegis of the World Bank. The ICSID ruled in their favour in 2009 and 
ordered Zimbabwe to pay them 8.8 million euros compensation, to be increased 
by 10 percent for each year since the land grab.

The group are now entitled to a sum of more 23 million euros and the Dutch 
government has has been pressuring Zimbabwe over the past two years to 
fulfil its international obligations with a special envoy appointed in 2010 
who having travelled regularly to Zimbabwe to negotiate with local 

Earlier this year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti promised to put forward a 
payment proposal. So far he has not honoured this promise despite being 
asked to do so in a letter from the Dutch Foreign Minister in August.

“We wanted to take action earlier, but decided to wait for Biti’s proposal,” 
the group’s chairman Lion Benjamins told a Dutch daily. “But now we’re sick 
of waiting, so have decided to take steps to show Zimbabwe we’re serious.”

The group is lobbying European parliamentarians to ensure that the EU refuse 
to lift its sanctions on Zimbabwe until the compensation is paid. They also 
hope to persuade the Dutch government to use its right of veto if Zimbabwe 
asks the Paris Club for debt relief.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs says it supports the farmers but is 
“not in a position to take over the payment”.

The group is also active in the UK, lobbying the government to release 
frozen Mugabe assets in order to pay the compensation.


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