Voices from the Underground: Building the Advocacy and Human Rights Capacity of Migrant Mineworkers and their Families in Southern Africa (2014 – 2016)

Historically South Africa has lacked an integrated approach to migration and labour practices. Despite new constitutional dispensation, the country is still vulnerable to exploitative practices in the formal and informal economies. This often correlates with vulnerability caused by a lack of legal documentation and lack of coherent multi-sectoral policies for local integration (short-term or long-term) of migrant workers and former migrant workers. The system is based on immigration enforcement and exclusion rather than a rights-based policy resulting in inclusion and integration.

For Mozambique’s large number of current and retired migrant mineworkers, who have a long history of working in South Africa’s mines, many are unaware of their rights and the available social protection mechanisms and services. The shortcomings in legal policy implementation, documentation and knowledge have contributed to a number of severe social protection problems for migrant mineworkers, namely, portability of pensions, access to compensation and essential reintegration programmes.

In order to find sustainable solutions, migrant mine workers and their families need appropriate channels to voice their concerns. Managed and implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and funded by the European Union (EU), the aim of this regional project is to improve the protection and advocacy capacity of migrant mine workers and their families in Southern Africa. The project has three components: institutional capacity-building of the Mozambican Mine Workers Association (AMIMO); facilitating legal services and counseling for mine workers and their families, together withLawyers for Human Rights (LHR), and; advocacy and communications at the national and regional levels to spur dialogue with stakeholders and inform beneficiaries of their rights.

Legal training workshop for AMIMO staff members in Gaza, Mozambique, November 2014


Legal consultation between migrant mineworker and LHR staff, November 2014

For a fuller outline of the project see the project briefing: Voices from the Underground Project

This project is funded by the European Union