Should Zimbabwe be allowed to resume diamond sales? That’s the question delegates from 70 countries at talks in Israel recently had to decide. The organisation that controls the international diamond trade failed to find an answer after allegations of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s mines.
Members of the watchdog, known as ‘the Kimberley Process’, said discussions had been ‘clouded’ by the arrest and imprisonment of a human rights activist. Farai Maguwu had alleged that forced labour, rape, torture and harassment were being used to develop Zimbabwe’s new lucrative Marange diamond mines.
Zimbabwe’s ability to export Kimberley certified diamonds – ‘the Kimberley Process’ - was suspended after the army seized control of Marange, allegedly massacring up to 200 miners two years ago. The country has accused the west of trying to hold back its economic development.
The diamonds from the Marange field could see the country become one of the world’s top six exporters of diamonds and generate US$1.7bn a year. But human rights groups want Zimbabwe to remain banned from selling “blood diamonds” - those which are used to fuel a conflict.
Category: Zimbabwe / Blood Diamonds / Kimberley Process