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Amnesty International: Construction of Polihali dam could violate human rights

The Polihali Dam, which is part of phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is meant to provide water to South Africa.

FILE: An aerial view of a dam from phase 1 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Picture: http://www.lhda.org.ls/

JOHANNESBURG - Amnesty International is warning that the construction of a new dam in Lesotho is threatening the livelihoods of nearly 8,000 people.

The Polihali Dam, which is part of phase 2 of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project is meant to provide water to South Africa.

The organisation said there hadn’t been enough consultation on the project, which it said could see communities evicted from their homes.

The Lesotho Highlands Development Authority is also being accused of failing to compensate affected residents ahead of the dam's construction.

Amnesty International said this was a violation of international human rights.

Spokesperson Robert Shivambu said: “As the construction of the Polihali Dam begins with work on the road that leads to the site, people are already being moved out of their homes for resettlement. The Lesotho authorities must immediately hold all work on the Polihali Dam until it complies with international human rights standards.”

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