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PAC Calls on the KP to Suspend Zimbabwe

Jun 14, 2010 1:43 AM   By Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) has called upon the Kimberley Process (KP) to suspend Zimbabwe from its certification scheme before the KP meeting to be held in Tel Aviv later this month.

“The Zimbabwe authorities have been given ample opportunity to demilitarize and legitimize its diamond industry, to respect the rule of law and stop the harassment and abuses of panners and civil society groups alike,” the nongovernmental (NGO) organization said in a report about Zimbabwe. “They have chosen otherwise. The KP cannot in good conscience turn a blind eye to this behavior any longer.”

PAC published the report, titled "Diamonds And Clubs: The Militarized Control of Diamonds and Power in Zimbabwe," to precede the KP's upcoming intercessional meeting. Zimbabwe is expected to dominate the meeting, although the KP monitor for Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, said that the country has met the KP’s minimum requirements and that he expects to permit exports from the Marange mine soon.

PAC provides an extensive background on the government’s ownership of the Marange mine and other diamond assets in Zimbabwe and abroad, including on the interpersonal relationships between the government officials who are involved.

“PAC calls on the KP to suspend Zimbabwe immediately,” the group said, identifying this call as its primary recommendation from the report. “The suspension should remain in effect until there is legitimate and competent governance of the country’s diamond resources.”

PAC added that the definition of conflict diamonds has become outdated and needs to be changed. The KP currently defines conflict diamonds as rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments. The NGO, however, cited Zimbabwe’s ruling party, ZANU-PF, as an example of something the present definition does not recognize: That governments can engage in acts of terror or criminality as vicious as any rebel movement.

It endorsed a new definition proposed by Martin Rapaport, the chairman of the Rapaport Group and publisher of Rapaport News, which states that “Blood diamonds are diamonds involved in murder, mutilation, rape or forced servitude.”

Among its other recommendations, PAC called on the KP to widen its monitoring beyond the trade of rough diamonds to include all stages of the polishing and cutting process. The NGO added that the KP should pay closer attention to stop “illegal behavior” at Zimbabwe’s River Ranch mine.

The report concluded that the mining licenses held by Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Resources should be revoked, as these licenses were designed to facilitate the flow of diamond revenue into the pockets of the ruling ZANU-PF party's network.

“Existing diamond production [should] be stockpiled until there is legitimate and competent governance of the country’s diamond resources,” PAC stated.

Otherwise, PAC warned, there is a great likelihood that illicit Zimbabwe diamonds could unwittingly be sold by U.S. jewelers. The NGO also called upon the World Diamond Council to ban all importations of Zimbabwe diamonds.

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Tags: Avi Krawitz, Abbey Chikane, Avi Krawitz, Blood Diamonds, Conflict Diamonds, Government, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, NGO, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), Polishing, Production, World Diamond Council, Zimbabwe
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