Blood Diamonds Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is fully compliant with the global Kimberley Process to eliminate Blood Diamonds
The global Kimberley Process KP initiative set up to stem the flow of so-called conflict Diamonds Friday confirmed that Zimbabwe had fully met its standards for exporting the gems, following a meeting that exposed deep continued divisions in the group.
Non-governmental organizations, which have frequently criticized the KP process, said its inability to agree on expanding the definition of what constitutes a “Conflict” Diamond highlighted a broader unwillingness to take a firm line on the global Diamond trade.
“For us this really means that the Kimberley Process is no longer the first word on conflict diamonds,” said Alan Martin of Partnership Africa Canada, one of the non-governmental groups that take part in the process.
“We’re going to be looking to other forums such as the OECDO, organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, to begin a more honest debate on this issue.”
Zimbabwe, which was allowed to export Diamonds under the KP mandate last year, had nevertheless been placed under a special year-long monitoring program amid repeated charges of human rights abuses and smuggling at its Diamond fields.
Partnership Africa Canada in November issued a report saying that at least $2-B in Diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields had been stolen by people linked to President Robert Mugabe’s party amid fears it is building up a “War Chest” for elections expected in Y 2013. Zimbabwe’s state mining firm said the gems were sold transparently.
Gillian Milovanovic, the US diplomat who chaired this year’s session, said Friday that Zimbabwe had made the required improvements and that the monitoring would lapse.
“Zimbabwe put in a significant good faith effort,” Mr. Milovanovic said. “Now they are fully compliant with the Kimberley Process.”
Both Zimbabwe and the definition of what a “Conflict” or “Blood” Diamond is have long shadowed the Kimberley Process, founded about 10 yrs go with a mandate to stop illicit Diamond sales from financing rebel campaigns against US-recognized governments.
Last year a disagreement over Zimbabwe, where human rights groups estimated that at least 200 small-scale miners were killed when security forces seized the fields at Marange, came to a head when a divided KP concluded that it had no mechanism to stop Zimbabwe’s Diamond sales.
Activists hoped that this year’s session would agree to expand the definition to take account of violence perpetrated by government forces or security personnel, which could dramatically expand its remit.
Mr. Milovanovic said the KP had been unable to reach consensus on this issue, although it had agreed to continue discussing it.
Martin of Partnership Africa Canada said it was disappointing that the KP had been unable to develop a new definition and criticized the group’s reluctance to insist that producers are transparent about their Diamond revenues as a Key good governance requirement.
“It’s a deprivation of obviously the public finances but also the public good. And by not acting I think the KP is turning a blind eye to this criminality which is becoming increasingly apparent,” he said.
Mr. Milovanovic underscored that there were limits to the speed with which the KP can move, as well as to the number of issues it can take on.
“The Kimberley Process is not all things to all people, but that does not mean it is not doing a decent job,” she said.
South Africa will take over as the KP Chair next year, and Mr. Milovanovic said that China had volunteered to serve as Deputy Chair, a step which could see Beijing, which is working hard to cement ties with resource-rich African nations, take over the full Chairmanship in Y 2014.
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Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr. writes and publishes The Red Roadmaster’s Technical Report on the US Major Market Indices, a weekly, highly-regarded financial market letter, read by opinion makers, business leaders and organizations around the world.
Paul A. Ebeling, Jnr has studied the global financial and stock markets since 1984, following a successful business career that included investment banking, and market and business analysis. He is a specialist in equities/commodities, and an accomplished chart reader who advises technicians with regard to Major Indices Resistance/Support Levels.
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