Kinshasa, DRC — MININGREVIEW.COM — 27 June 2011 – The Kimberley Process decision to allow Zimbabwe to export diamonds under certain conditions falls far short of what is needed to protect civilians in the country, says advocacy group Partnership Africa Canada.
“Exports from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields will be monitored by two representatives of the Kimberley Process until the organisation’s next meeting,’” the process announced here in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Civil society representatives who oversee the group, which was created to stop the trade in so-called blood diamonds that fund conflict, walked out of the meeting in protest, and Canada and the U.S. said the decision broke procedural rules and was made “without consensus.”
In 2009, restrictions were placed on the export of gems from the Marange field, which is near Zimbabwe’s border with Mozambique, after a review mission found human-rights violations and smuggling at the site. In 2008, more than 200 people were killed when Zimbabwean security forces took over the concessions, according to a report by New York-based advocacy group Human Rights Watch.
The new decision “does not contain sufficient checks and balances to prevent substantial volumes of illicit diamonds from entering the global diamond supply chain, and further undermines the credibility of the Kimberley Process,” Ottawa- based Partnership Africa Canada said in an e-mailed statement.
“Zimbabwe is complying with the organisation’s rules and would submit to special monitoring to assure continued compliance at least until the group’s next meeting,” Kimberley Process President Mathieu Yamba told reporters at a news conference. “The southern African country has also guaranteed civil-society participation in monitoring exports,” he said.