PACs recommendations to the Kimberley Process

diamonds_marangeSuspend Zimbabwe
The Zimbabwean authorities have been given ample opportunity to demilitarise and legitimise the diamond industry, to respect the rule of law and stop the harassment and abuses of panners and civil society groups. They have chosen otherwise.

The KP cannot, in good conscience, turn a blind eye to this behaviour any longer. PAC calls on the KP to suspend Zimbabwe immediately. The suspension should remain in effect until there is legitimate and competent governance of the countrys diamond resources.

Redefine blood diamonds

The Kimberley Process Certification System was designed to protect governments from rebel movements threatening their sovereignty. This is reflected in the definition of conflict diamonds found in KPCS founding documents, which described them as rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance conflict aimed at undermining legitimate governments.

This definition is outdated and needs changing. It erroneously assumes all governments are legitimate and does not recognise that such governments, in whole or part, could engage in acts of terror or criminality as egregious as any rebel movement.

The JOC and other Zanu insiders are clearly using the countrys diamond resources to finance and further a narrow and illegitimate agenda that is at odds with the unity government.

The militarys role, using diamonds as barter for weapons, brings a sense of urgency to this situation, offering a disturbing echo of how diamonds financed arms purchases that fuelled the wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The KPCSs strict interpretation of conflict diamonds fails to capture consumer concerns about rape, murder and mutilation being linked to products that are supposed to symbolise love and commitment.

Martin Rapaport, the publisher of the Rapaport Diamond Report, has coined a new definition that reflects the changing nature of conflict diamonds, and acknowledges

the central role human rights have, and should, play in the Kimberley Process: Blood diamonds are diamonds involved in murder, mutilation, rape or forced servitude. PAC endorses this definition and calls on the KP to adopt it at the earliest possible opportunity.

Include cut and polished stones in the Kimberley Process Certification System

Zimbabwe underscores an all too common shortcoming of the KP: once rough diamonds are smuggled out of a rogue country there is no accounting for how they end up in the legitimate diamond trade.

Large quantities of Marange diamonds are known to have made their way to Europe, Asia and the Middle East. This sullies the entire diamond industry and creates uncertainty for consumers who want ethically sourced gems.

PAC calls on the KP to widen its monitoring and enforcement mandate beyond the trade of rough diamonds to include all stages of the polishing and cutting process in the KPCS.

Investigate River Ranch

Marange has garnered most of the media headlines, but the KP has also failed to stop illegal behaviour at River Ranch.

River Ranch must be a factor in any future action taken by the KP with respect to Zimbabwes diamond sector, including Zimbabwes readmission to the KP.


One of the most troubling aspects of Zimbabwes diamond sector is the dearth of independently verifiable data surrounding their extraction, sale and export. Similar problems occur in countries such as Angola and Venezuela.

PAC calls on all diamond-producing countries within the KPCS to join the Extractive

Industries Transparency Initiative and set up tripartite multi-stakeholder coalitions at the national level to track the generation and disbursement of diamond revenues.

If the Kimberley Process is unable to come to grips with the challenges posed by Zimbabwes blood diamonds, other bodies should fill the leadership void. Left unchecked, these diamonds are likely to become a source of growing social instability that could engulf the wider Southern African region. The United Nations Security Council should place an immediate embargo on Zimbabwean diamonds until there is legitimate and competent governance of the countrys diamond resources.

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