Global Policy Forum

Industry Must Refuse Zimbabwe Diamonds Certified by Rogue Monitor

Marange, the largest diamond mine in Zimbabwe, has been scrutinized by diamond industry watchdogs for its abysmal worker conditions, related violence and missing profits.  Marange diamonds are supposed to be certified by the Kimberley Process to prevent corruption and violence, but controversy has surrounded the case. With the sale of Marange diamonds still halted, Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane returned to Zimbabwe and certified Marange diamonds for future export. The Kimberley Process appears relatively useless to prevent the diamonds from entering the world market. The diamond industry refuses to take a more pro-active stand against known conflict diamonds.

November 16, 2010


The World Diamond Council and other diamond industry bodies must immediately issue clear public statements instructing their members not to purchase improperly certified diamonds from Zimbabwe’s contentious Marange diamond fields, said Global Witness today.

Exports from Marange are subject to restrictions imposed by the Kimberley Process (KP) rough diamond certification scheme, because of concerns regarding human rights abuses and military involvement in diamond mining and smuggling in the region. Last week a controversial KP-mandated monitor, Abbey Chikane, is reported to have returned to Zimbabwe to certify Marange diamonds in preparation for sale and export, despite the fact that he received no authorisation from the Kimberley Process to do this.

“Diamond industry bodies must show leadership by instructing their members to refuse purchase of these diamonds which appear to have been certified by a discredited monitor who has gone beyond his mandate,” said Global Witness director Charmian Gooch. “The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council in India and the UAE’s Dubai Multi Commodities Centre should be especially vigilant, since these countries have been the main destinations for previous exports from Marange.”

Abbey Chikane’s reported visit to Zimbabwe follows the Kimberley Process’s failure earlier this month to reach an agreement authorising future diamond exports from Marange. Global Witness is calling on all parties in the KP to ensure a credible deal that benchmarks future diamond exports with verified progress by the Zimbabwean government in meeting the commitments it has already made. The most important of these include full demilitarisation of the diamond trade, tackling systematic smuggling and ensuring respect for civil society monitoring in Marange.

Gooch said: “This is a crucial test of the diamond industry’s system of self-regulation – disputed diamonds from Marange pose a real threat to the integrity of the diamond supply chain. By refusing to buy these stones, the industry can reinforce the strength and credibility of the Kimberley Process, and chart a path to a satisfactory agreement on Marange diamonds.”








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