We publish courtesy of IDEX online
(IDEX Online News) – The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) rejected today claims that Belgian companies bought illegal diamonds mined by children in Zimbabwe. The allegations were made by a local newspaper in reference to leaked U.S. cables that appeared last week on Wikileaks.
AWDC said it “read in horror” an article titled “Belgian kopen illegale diamanten [Belgians buy illegal diamonds]” published in De Morgen on December 11. The article claims that “illegal diamonds from Zimbabwe massively found their way to the Western a nd also the Belgian market in 2008” links the Belgian diamond business and child labor “in an inacceptable way.”
“The title ‘Belgians buy illegal diamonds’ is a total aberration,” AWDC said today. The diamonds discussed in the cable had Kimberley Process certificates and purchased in 2007-09. In November 2009, KP sanctions were placed on Marange goods.
The article also alleges ‘According to Cranswick work in the mine is mostly supplied by children.’ No references are made to child labor in the mentioned cables. “It must be absolutely clear that AWDC most strongly condemns child labor and does not wish to be associated with this in any possible way,” the organization declared.
This is the second response from inside the diamond industry to the leaked cables (see more about them here). The first was from WFDB Vice President Ernest Blom who issued a “categorical denial over claims of trading in rough diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange deposits.”