Group calls Marange diamond boycott

miner_shows_scarsHARARE An international campaigner against conflict diamonds is calling for greater consumer pressure on the world diamond industry to ensure stones from Zimbabwes controversial Marange fields do not find their way into the supply chain. (Pictured: An illegal miner fr

Disappointed by the apparent lack of action by industry watchdog Kimberley Process (KP) to curb alleged human rights abuses at Marange diamond fields, Global Witness is encouraging consumers to demand that jewellers provide more information about where their products are sourced. “Consumer pressure will be vital to ensure that the diamond industry finally acts to eliminate conflict diamonds once and for all,” said Elly Harrowell, campaigner at Global Witness. Marange is one of the worlds most controversial diamond fields with reports that soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took over committed gross human rights abuses including murder against illegal miners who had descended on the field following the expulsion of ACR.

A team from the KP that visited Zimbabwe at the end of last June condemned rights violations and rampant smuggling of diamonds that it said were being committed by soldiers based at Marange. But a KP meeting in Namibia in November decided against banning Zimbabwe diamonds from the world market and instead agreed to give Harare more time to review operations at Marange and improve security arrangements to comply with the organisations standards. However a leading international diamond trading network has banned

members from trading in diamonds from Marange citing concerns over severe human rights violations at the diamond field.

The Rapaport Diamond Trading Network that connects thousands of some of the best diamond suppliers and buyers around the world has said that members found dealing in diamonds from Marange would be denied access to the network. Zimbabwean diamonds not sourced from Marange are not banned. The World Diamond Council last month called on the Harare authorities to immediately appoint an independent monitor to oversee operations at the Marange fields and to certify any exports from the area. Global Witness said consumers could exert pressure on the KP and countries like Zimbabwe by insisting on evidence that diamonds used to produce jewellery was not sourced from conflict areas. “Kimberley Process members need to get serious about stamping out the systematic abuse of civilians in countries like Zimbabwe, otherwise the credibility of the whole scheme will be undermined” said

Harrowell.

He added: “They will be more inclined to act if they hear a strong message from retailers and consumers that continued links with such violence will no longer be tolerated.” The call came as the world prepared to celebrate St. Valentines Day commemorate each year on February 14. The day is synonymous with the renewal of marriage or love vows and usually involves the exchange of jewellery.

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