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NGO Asks KP to Suspend Marange Monitoring

Jun 2, 2010 11:12 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... The Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition has called on the Kimberley Process (KP) to suspend its monitoring arrangement of the Marange mine in Zimbabwe following a police raid on the offices of the Centre for Research and Development (CRD).

“The Civil Society Coalition will not accept the intimidation of any of its members as a result of their participation in the Kimberley Process,” wrote Bernard Taylor, the executive director of Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), in a letter to KP chairman Boaz Hirsch.

The letter was sent on behalf of the KP's civil society, one of three collaborative branches of the KP, along with government and industry.

Last week, police raided the home and office of CRD director Farai Maguwu, arresting his brother and confiscating his computer, work documents and car. Maguwu has since gone into hiding.

Taylor said that the raid appears to have been a direct consequence of Maguwu’s meeting with the KP monitor for Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, on Tuesday. Earlier this month, CRD issued a report claiming that approximately 2,000 carats of diamonds per day were being smuggled from the Marange due to security lapses at the site.

Taylor added that the raid represents an escalation of the harassment and intimidation aimed at Maguwu during the KP plenary session held in Namibia in November. The KP and Zimbabwe government agreed at the plenary to a joint work plan to bring the Maraneg mine in line with KP standards. The plan included the appointment of a monitor, Chikane, to approve the certification of the mine’s production.

Taylor called on Hirsch to demand the release of Maguwu’s family members and the return of his possessions; publicly condemn the actions of the Zimbabwean authorities; and suspend the monitoring arrangement until the authorities can assure that people who meet with the monitor will not be harassed or persecuted.

“The monitoring arrangement at the heart of this plan relies on the monitor’s ability to freely meet and gather information from all stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s KP system,” Taylor said. “This ability has clearly been compromised by the actions of the state security agencies, which have persecuted Mr. Maguwu because of his meeting with the Monitor.”

“It calls into question the good will of the Zimbabwean authorities in implementing the joint working plan and working constructively with all members of the KP,” he added.
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Tags: Avi Krawitz, Abbey Chikane, Avi Krawitz, Government, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, Namibia, NGO, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), Production, Zimbabwe
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