Rights groups protest lift on Zim diamond ban

2011-06-24 09:02

Civil society groups said today they walked out of a Kimberley Process meeting in a show of no confidence in the regulator after it lifted a ban on Zimbabwe diamonds.

Mathieu Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo, current chairman of the global “blood diamonds” monitor, late yesterday said sales would be allowed from two mines in the Marange region, where investigators found gross human rights abuses in 2009.

A team of two monitors still must visit the mines to sign off on the sale, he said.

But civil society groups in the Kimberley Process slammed the decision, saying human rights abuses have not been addressed.

“We represent communities that have suffered from diamond-fuelled violence, and communities that hope to benefit from diamond wealth,” said Aminata Kelly-Lamin from the Network Movement for Justice and Development in Sierra Leone.

“We can no longer go back to these people, look them in the eye and tell them that the scheme is working to protect their interests, when it is not,” she said.

In a joint statement, the organisations said Kimberley’s deal with Zimbabwe fell short of what is needed to protect civilians living and working in Marange.

“Marange has been the scene of very serious human rights violations over the past three years. Yet the deal tabled did not credibly address the question of how to protect local NGOs monitoring and reporting to the KP on conditions in the area,” said Alfred Brownell from Green Advocates, Liberia.

“Any new agreement that the KP signs up to regarding Marange diamonds must address directly key issues such as the involvement of soldiers in diamond mining, rampant smuggling and beatings by security forces,” he said.

The Marange fields, touted as Africa’s richest diamond find of the decade, have been at the centre of a years-long controversy over abuses by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s military.

The suspension of sales from Marange has done little to stem the flow of smuggled diamonds across the nearby border with Mozambique and then to overseas markets. 

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.