Marange diamonds illegal: RapNet

In spite of the approval by the Kimberley Process and World Diamond Council of the release of millions of carats of Marange diamonds, an international fair trade organisation warned members not to trade in such minerals.

“These diamonds are sanctioned by United States Office of Foreign Assets Control and European Union regulations and cannot be legally purchased by US or EU entities,” a spokesperson for Rappaport Diamond Trading Network said this week. “Diamonds from these sources have been involved in human rights abuses.

RapNet members are warned not to offer these diamonds for sale on RapNet. Ethical buyers should verify their diamond sources.”

Last week, there was uproar from human rights groups after KP authorized Zimbabwean diamonds. Over the past three years, hundreds of informal diamond panners had been killed in eastern Zimbabwe by units of the Zimbabwean army and police.

The security forces have also been involved in the illicit exploitation and smuggling of diamonds from Marange.

The discovery of diamonds in 2006 was seen as a major boost to the economy. However, critics believe this has only benefited Zanu (PF) members.

In addition to the reported human rights abuses, lack of accountability characterizes the diamond trade in Zimbabwe where it is feared proceeds from the sale of the stones are used to fund Zanu (PF)’s campaign to retain power.

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