The following article is published courtesy of IDEX online
“Zimbabwe must not resume diamond exports from its troubled Marange diamond fields without prior permission from the Kimberley Process certification scheme,” warned Global Witness following a ruling by the Zimbabwean High Court that cleared the way to selling some 129,000 carats of diamonds.
On Monday, The High Court in Zimbabwe ruled that the government can start selling diamonds mined from claims belonging to Africa Consolidated Resources’ (ACR) in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Justice Bharat Patel dismissed an ACR application, which sought an interim order prohibiting the sale of diamonds mined from the disputed diamond fields by a number of government companies.
Following the High Court decision, the Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu, told state media, “We are going to benefit from our diamonds whether with the KP or not.”
The Kimberley Process called for a halt on the exports following reports of grave human rights abuses in the diamond fields, including murder, rape and forced labor.
KP sent a review mission to investigate and an action plan was drafted with Zimbabwe. It included the appointment of a KP monitor. According to Global Witness, there is no sign that the country has implemented the necessary reforms.
“What has been taking place in Marange is unconscionable and there is no way that exports should restart until the government can prove that it has taken the necessary action to end the abuses and hold the perpetrators to account,” said Global Witness campaigner Elly Harrowell.
“If the government goes ahead with its plan to sell diamonds without prior approval from the Kimberley Process, it will be in breach of its commitments and should face suspension. Member states will need to act swiftly if they want to maintain the credibility of the scheme and protect consumer confidence in the international diamond market,” said Harrowell.