Kimberley Process appoints monitor for Zimbabwe

Jerusalem–The Kimberley Process (KP) has designated a monitor to address allegations of serious KP violations in the diamond-producing nation of Zimbabwe and to bring that country back into compliance, according to a media release issued today.

According to the release, the governments and civil society organizations that are involved in the KP, the process put in place to stem the flow of “conflict” or “blood” diamonds into the trade, nominated Abbey Chikane as the KP monitor for Zimbabwe.

A founding chairman of the KP, Chikane will visit Zimbabwe between now and March 3 to assess the situation and prepare for the implementation of the joint work plan.

The KP formulated the joint work plan–which Zimbabwe agreed to–at its plenary meeting held in November in Swakopmund, Namibia, to address serious issues in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond mining area, the site of reported, widespread human rights abuses.

The plan outlines the commitments Zimbabwe needs to make to bring this area back into full compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), which imposes extensive requirements on KP members that wish to certify their rough diamonds as “conflict-free.”

The KP will closely monitor implementation of the plan through Chikane’s work as monitor, and exports of rough diamonds from the Marange region–which are currently banned due to KP violations–will be subject to verification of compliance by Chikane.

According to the release, the KP monitor visit takes place in response to an invitation from Zimbabwe, which stated in a letter to the KP, “In the interest of the quick implementation of the Swakopmund Decision and the Joint Work Plan, Zimbabwe wished to express its readiness to have the KP Monitor in the country … in view of the tasks contained in the Joint Work Plan that need to be urgently accomplished.”

KP Chairman Boaz Hirsch said as chair of the KP, Israel has made KP compliance in the Marange area of Zimbabwe one of its top priorities, and implementation of the plan is an important step in the right direction.

In the release, Hirsch thanked the government of Zimbabwe for its cooperation and thanked the chair of the working group on monitoring, Stephane Chardon, for successfully managing negotiations with Zimbabwe.

According to the release, Chikane’s role as monitor will be to liaise with the Zimbabwean government, as represented by the country’s Ministry of Mines, in order to assess implementation of the joint work plan and report regularly to the KP on his progress.

In addition, as monitor, Chikane will play a key role in supervising rough exports from the Marange region to ensure they meet the minimum requirements of the KP.

According to the release, the Zimbabwean government has committed to ensure full and unhindered access to all relevant diamond production and processing sites as well as to all relevant stakeholders from the point of mining to the point of export, including representatives of the government, civil society and industry.

courtesy of National Jeweler

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