Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe, diamonds and the wrong side of history

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Summary

This report describes the role of diamonds in the Zimbabwean economy and their place in the country's increasingly repressive governance. It describes growing evidence of smuggling, the militarization of diamond resources and the killing of dozens of unarmed diamond diggers by the police and armed forces of Zimbabwe. The report describes the lacklustre role in all of this played by the Kimberley Process, the multilateral body designed to regulate the world's trade in rough diamonds, but whose members lack the initiative and the will required to investigate smuggling and non compliance, and who lack the courage required to denounce gross human rights violations in the diamond industry. The health of the world's diamond market comes down to consumer choice. To maintain customer confidence, the onus is on the world's diamond industry and the Kimberley Process to demonstrate beyond doubt that the diamonds it certifies are clean, and that questionable Zimbabwean goods are not tainting the wider world of diamonds. The report concludes with strong recommendations to the United Nations Security Council, the governments of Zimbabwe and South Africa, and the Kimberley Process. Our hope is that this report will strengthen the hand of Zimbabwe's new Unity Government, safeguard human rights and put some backbone into the Kimberley Process.