Mega-Dams and Indigenous Human Rights
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Mega-Dams and Indigenous Human Rights

Itzchak Kornfeld

This original and insightful book explores and examines the impact that building mega-dams has on the human rights of those living in surrounding areas, and in particular those of indigenous peoples who are often most affected. Compiling case studies from around the world, Itzchak Kornfeld provides clear examples of how human rights violations are perpetrated and compounded, with chapters examining historical, recent and ongoing dam projects.
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Chapter 9: Zambia’s Kariba Dam

Itzchak Kornfeld


Zambia’s Kariba Dam, the largest manmade dam in the world, lies across the Zambezi River, in southeast Africa. The dam lies downstream of the Victoria Falls and is operated by a bi-national Zambezi River Authority. 57,000 Gwembe Tonga indigenous people were ousted from their ancestral homes and resettled for the Kariba’s construction. Additionally, numerous animals were ousted and then rescued in “Operation Noah,” which began as a consequence of concerns regarding the destiny of 4,000–6,000 animals that would have drowned when the dam’s reservoir filled. In return for leaving their ancestral lands, the Tonga were promised electricity in their new homes. However, 60 years hence that promise has yet to be honored. They have also not benefited from any of successive development since their relocation. The Tonga now live in dark and dust-filled thatched roof houses, but more critically their schools and clinic are similarly not electrified.

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