14 November 2012

Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds

Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields 'plundered'
13 Nov 2012
At least $2bn (£1.25bn) worth of diamonds has been stolen from Zimbabwe, campaign group Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) has alleged. The "theft" at the Marange fields had enriched Zimbabwean officials, international gem dealers and criminals, the PAC report said. The industry's global watchdog body, the Kimberley Process, lifted a ban on Zimbabwean diamond sales in 2011, with the backing of the US and European Union. The ban was imposed in 2009 following reports that Zimbabwean military officials were benefiting from the diamond trade and there had been killings and human rights abuses at the Marange fields.

Zimbabwe government may 'close without diamond money'
14 Mar 2012
Zimbabwe's government could "close" unless projected diamond revenues start to flow into the treasury, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has warned. He said the mines ministry had informed him that no diamond auctions had been held this year. The mines ministry is controlled by Zanu-PF - and correspondents say the party is seen to be profiting from the diamond sector since a ban on Zimbabwe diamonds was lifted by the industry watchdog. After a decade of steep decline the economy is slowly recovering, but it remains fragile and tensions are rising again. With unemployment at 80%, the country's tax and revenue base remains extremely low. 

Marange diamond field: Zimbabwe torture camp discovered
08 Aug 2011
A torture camp run by Zimbabwe's security forces is operating in the country's rich Marange diamond fields, BBC Panorama has found. The program heard from recent victims who told of severe beatings and sexual assault. The main torture camp uncovered by the program is known locally as "Diamond Base". Witnesses said it is a remote collection of military tents, with an outdoor razor wire enclosure where the prisoners are kept. It is near an area known as Zengeni in Marange, said to be one of the world's most significant diamond fields. The claims come as the European Union pushes to let some banned diamonds from the country led by President Robert Mugabe back onto world markets.

Israeli diamond trader banned for 'blood diamond' link
29 Dec 2010
An Israeli diamond trader has been expelled from the Israel Diamond Exchange after he was suspected of smuggling "blood diamonds" into Israel. David Vardi was arrested in connection with a consignment of $140,000 (£92,000) of Zimbabwean stones, whose exports the Kimberley Process bans. Israel is the current chairman of the Kimberley Process.

Zimbabwe arrests six diamond mining officials
04 Nov 2010
Zimbabwean police have arrested six directors of two diamond mining corporations on suspicion of fraudulently obtaining a license. The officials work for the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Canadile Miners, state media reported. They are suspected of fraudulently obtaining a license to mine the controversial Marange fields, in the east of the country. Marange is mired in controversy over legal issues and abuse by the military. The Kimberley Process, a global certification scheme meant to prevent trade in "blood diamonds", has limited sales from Marange after its investigation found soldiers had beaten villagers to force them to mine the gems. "Blood diamonds" are rough diamonds used by rebel groups or their allies to finance wars and conflicts.

Zimbabwe diamonds sale under way
11 Aug 2010
Zimbabwe has held the first sale of diamonds from its Marange fields since the body overseeing the trade in "blood diamonds" lifted a ban. The Kimberley Process had suspended the diamond exports in November in response to allegations of atrocities committed by the military at Marange. But last month, it ruled that abuses had ceased and said Zimbabwe could resume limited exports. The diamonds from the Marange field could generate $1.7bn (£1.1bn) a year.

Deadlock over Zimbabwe 'blood diamond' trade
25 Jun 2010
The organization that controls the international diamond trade has failed to agree whether Zimbabwe should be allowed to resume diamond sales. Following talks in Israel, members of the Kimberley Process said discussions had been "clouded" by the arrest in Zimbabwe of a human rights activist. Farai Maguwu had alleged that forced labor was being used to develop Zimbabwe's new Marange diamond field. Zimbabwe has accused the West of trying to hold back its economic development.

Zimbabwe diamond sales ban urged
02 Nov 2009
Zimbabwe is facing calls to be suspended from the international diamond trade following allegations of brutality by its soldiers. Rights groups are lobbying members of the Kimberley Process, the body which regulates the trade in rough diamonds, to halt exports from Zimbabwe. Activists say soldiers killed about 200 people at a diamond field. Human Rights Watch said the police and army have turned what was a peaceful area into a "nightmare of lawlessness and horrific violence". Activists say local people are now being forced to search for diamonds, with all the profit being taken by Zanu-PF. The government denies the claims.

Zimbabwe army 'runs diamond mine'
26 Jun 2009
Lobby group Human Rights Watch has accused Zimbabwe's army of using forced labour, including children, to mine diamonds in the east of the country. On the face of it, the military takeover was an attempt to seize control from unlicensed miners, the lobby group says. But in reality it was a systematic attempt to enable key army units, whose support President Mugabe needed following June's elections, to have access to riches, Human Rights Watch says.

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