african nations threaten to walk from kimberley process
More on the Zimbabwe Marange Diamond Controversy… According to Zimbabwe’s Paper The Zimbabwe Guardian, The African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) says Zimbabwe should sue the Kimberley Process (KP) in the international courts for refusing to certify its sale of diamonds even though “…their appointed monitor has said the country meets the minimum requirements.” In addition, several African nations are threatening to discontinue their participation from the Kimberley Process.
This is all in response KP chair’s (Boaz Hirsch of Israel) recent statement banning trade from Zimbabwe’s Marange region until the KP can come to an agreement on the issue, which has been debated for a number of months now.
The two sides were best summed up by dialogue between Ms. Tiseke Kasambala of the Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division and diamond journalist/analyst Chaim Even-Zohar last June: Ms. Kasambala dismissed the KP Monitor’s conclusion that Zimbabwe is fully compliant with KP’s minimum requirements and that diamond exports from Marange should resume. She talked of continuing human rights abuses in the Marange field at the hand of the army, which she says the KP Monitor did not even include in their report. She also questioned the legality of the two licensed companies that operate in Marange. Her biggest criticism of the KP regarding Zimbabwe and her reason for thinking that the body was irrelevant in Zimbabwe was that KP’s very definition of conflict diamonds does not include a sovereign government’s misuse of the gems against its own people.
Mr. Zohar warned of the dangers of expelling Zimbabwe from the KP, saying that since the country’s diamonds would get into the world market anyway, and would soon represent a third of world production, he argued it would be more dangerous to have them smuggled into the black market where they would ultimately end up funding international terrorist groups.
This is essentially the debate during KP talks in Tel Aviv regarding the allowance of Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds to trade in the market. Israel doesn’t have a whole lot of time left as the KP chair – what is to happen when Congo replaces them next year? Does anyone know the DR Congo’s stand on the African nations of the ADPA’s who threaten to walk? Will DR Congo approach the Marange diamond issue with human rights at the forefront considering their own history with diamonds?
I read on a Zimbabwe propaganda web site that Zimbabwe’s government believes the West is against the free trade of Marange diamonds for political reasons – that the revenue from the diamonds will make it more difficult to unseat President Mugabe. Being a diamond seller in the West, I simply ask what is the point of the Kimberly Process if it isn’t about HUMAN RIGHTS???? That should be the main concern here.
Industry veteran Martin Rapaport resigned a while ago from the World Diamond Council, a diamond industry trade group, in protest over how the industry has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses in Zimbabwe’s diamond fields. Even though Rapaport helped create the KP, he lamented that it “has become a process for the systematic legalization and legitimization of blood diamonds.” Lets hope the KP steps up to the plate and doesn’t loose faith in us all!!!!!!