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Rapaport Bans Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamonds

RapNet to expel members who trade in Marange diamonds.

Dec 1, 2009 3:22 AM   By Martin Rapaport
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RAPAPORT... The Rapaport Group and the RapNet Diamond Trading Network have implemented an immediate ban on all diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields due to severe human rights violations. Firms or individuals that continue to deal in Marange diamonds will be expelled from the RapNet Diamond Trading Network and denied access to Rapaport services.

Legitimate nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have documented severe human rights abuses in Marange. Their demands that Zimbabwe be expelled from the Kimberley Process (KP) were denied at the KP Plenary meetings early this November. Human Rights Watch reported that late last year “the army killed at least 214 miners” and “as recently as late October 2009, Human Rights Watch uncovered rampant abuses by the military in Marange, including forced labor, child labor, killings, beatings, smuggling and corruption.”

Rapaport believes that blood diamonds from the Marange fields have been legally exported to the diamond-cutting centers with KP Certificates and are now reaching retailers as polished diamonds. The KP is being used as a fig leaf to cover up human rights abuses in the diamond sector and to legalize the sale of blood diamonds.

Shockingly, the World Diamond Council (WDC) has not only failed to prevent easily identifiable rough Marange blood diamonds from entering the cutting centers, they have also participated in a cover-up of human rights abuses. The WDC has not made public nor informed the trade about the human rights violations detailed in the KP’s “Report of the Review Mission to Zimbabwe, 30 June – July 4,” even though the WDC participated in the mission.

We quote from page 26 of this report finally made public by The New York Times on November 4. “Each one of these illegal miners reported seeing people killed and the numbers they cited ranged from one to seven. … The Team interviewed more than 20 victims in Mutare and Chiadzwa. The victims included women who reported that, while under the custody of the security forces, they were raped repeatedly by military officers and that they have been forced to engage in sex with illegal diamond miners. One victim told the Team that she tested HIV positive after she had been forced to have sex with two men and then raped by a military officer.” Why wasn’t the diamond trade told about this?

It is time to face the hard fact that the KP and WDC have failed to prevent blood diamonds from entering the diamond trade. In fact, blood diamonds are being bought and sold and no one is doing anything about it.

Rapaport calls on the WDC to immediately make public all information it has relating to human rights abuses in the diamond sector, including but not limited to Marange diamonds. We call on the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) to immediately halt the trade in Marange diamonds by publicly naming and expelling members who continue to knowingly trade in Marange diamonds, and to educate their members about all human rights abuses in the diamond sector, including but not limited to Marange diamonds. We call on all diamond-grading laboratories, banks, shipping companies and other service providers to deny service to firms that deal in Marange diamonds or other diamonds involved in severe human rights violations.

Over the next few days, all 4,100-plus RapNet members will be required to immediately remove all RapNet listings of Marange diamonds and confirm upon login to the trading network that they will no longer knowingly trade in Marange diamonds or other diamonds involved in severe human rights violations. The Rapaport Group is also sending letters to industry organizations asking them to ban Marange diamonds and calling on NGOs to demand that the United Nations Security Council embargo Marange diamonds.

Rough diamond dealers are advised to review the unique identification characteristics of Marange rough diamonds published by the KP and available on our website. Polished diamond buyers and retailers should inquire about the source of diamonds they buy, particularly when being offered diamonds with a greenish hue in G to Z and faint green colors. While not all Marange polished diamonds have a greenish hue and not all green-hue diamonds are from Marange, significant numbers of such Marange stones are appearing in the market. All members of the trade should ask their suppliers to do everything they can to ensure that they are not being supplied Marange diamonds.

For additional information and updates about Marange diamonds, visit www.diamonds.net/Zimbabwe or email fairtrade@diamonds.net.

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Tags: Banks, Blood Diamonds, Industry Organizations, Kimberley Process, Laboratories, Marange Fields, Shipping Companies, World Diamond Council, World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB), Zimbabwe
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