We publish courtesy of Israeli Diamond Industry Blog
Author: Roe Kalb
As the Kimberley Process plenary meeting this week welcomed some new players in the international diamond trade, a group of celebrities began boycotting Botswana diamonds for reasons unrelated to the KP’s raison d’etre.
In Jerusalem, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu told the Israel Diamond Institute that Zimbabwe was happy to be a “fully compliant” member of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a group of celebrities – including X-Files star Gillian Anderson – is boycotting diamonds from Botswana in protest of that government’s treatment of the country’s Kalahari Bushmen, the Survival International rights group reported.
The group also staged a protest outside a De Beers diamond boutique in London, at which activists called for the indigenous Kalahari residents to be granted full rights to their ancestral land.
Survival International Director Stephan Corry issued a statement saying that “Far from being an expensive token of eternal love, Botswana diamonds are a symbol of the nasty oppression
The Bushmen, natives of the country’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, once had a population of millions in southern Africa, but only some 100,000 remain today.
Approximately half of them live in Botswana, where they were resettled outside their land after diamonds were discovered on the reserve in 2002. In 2006, a court ruled that the Bushmen were entitled to return to the Kalahari Game Reserve, but prevented them access to their only source of water there – a borehole.
Botswana produces nearly 25% of the world’s diamonds, which comprise half of the government’s revenue. This week, the Gem Diamonds mining company said it was hopeful that it would be granted a license to develop the Gope site on the Kalahari Game Reserve, which could produce some 1 million carats of diamonds a year once a mine is up and running.