Zimbabwe diamonds to be classified as conflict gems?

Zimbabwe diamonds to be classified as conflict gems?
Published: 15 March 2019 (75 Views)
THE 69th plenary meeting of the United Nations (UN) has resolved to include a discussion on whether Zimbabwean diamonds should be classified as conflict gems during the inter-governmental organisation's 74th general assembly meeting agenda, it emerged this week.

The meeting, which brings together heads of state from the UN's 192 member countries, is scheduled to run from September 17-24 this year in New York, United States.

The development follows intense lobbying by a grouping of international civil society organisations affiliated to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) urging the UN to review its definition of conflict diamonds in order to encompass Zimbabwe's gemstones.

The move, if it succeeds, will bar Zimbabwe from trading on the formal international market.

The lobbying intensified following an incident in which gunmen in military gear overpowered security staff of the government-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) in Chiadzwa, Manicaland, and held them hostage before escaping with valuable gemstones at midnight on January 15 this year.

This was at the height of the deadly uprisings which saw at least 17 people killed as the army and police savagely clamped down on protests over the rising cost of living.

Under KPCS rules governing the international trade in the precious mineral, diamond mines must have tight security.

The incidents added impetus to calls for the KPCS to widen the definition of conflict diamonds to also cover those being mined in Zimbabwe, which they said are being used to finance President Emmerson Mnangagwa's violent suppression of dissent.

So far, the organisations feel the definition of conflict diamonds-that they are gemstones which originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognised governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the UN Security Council-is inadequate.

Zimbabwean Centre for Natural Resource Governance (ZCNRG) director Farai Maguwu, who presented the case for Zimbabwe at the plenary meeting in New York, urged the UN to classify Zimbabwean gemstones as conflict diamonds on the basis that they were being used to fund military operations in the country.

In a circular to member states last week, the plenary said it noted with concern the continuation of trade in conflict diamonds or blood diamonds on the international market, with serious impact on peace and the safety and security of people in affected countries as well as the systematic and gross human rights violations that have been perpetrated in such conflicts.

"The plenary acknowledges with great appreciation the important contribution that the European Union, as Chair of the Kimberley Process in 2018, has made towards curbing the trade in conflict diamonds, and welcomes the selection of India as the Chair of the Kimberley Process for 2019, the Russian Federation as the vice-chair for 2019 and the chair for 2020 and Botswana as the vice-chair for 2020 and the chair for 2021. The plenary requests the chair of the Kimberley Process to submit to the General Assembly at its seventy-fourth session a report on the implementation of the Kimberley Process. The session also decides to include in the provisional agenda of its seventy-fourth session the item entitled: The role of diamonds in fueling conflict," the circular reads.

The KPCS was founded when southern African diamond-producing states met in Kimberley, South Africa, in May 2000, to discuss ways of stopping the trade in conflict diamonds and ensure that diamond purchases were not funding violence.

The result was an agreement by the UN, European Union, the governments of 74 countries, the World Diamond Council representing the industry and a number of interest groups such as Global Witness.

They established the KPCS, whereby members are required to certify that all rough diamond exports are produced through legitimate mining and sales activities and are conflict-free.

This is not the first time Zimbabwe finds itself at the centre of a diamond ban lobby.

Following the rise in the trade of blood diamonds between 2008 and 2009, Zimbabwe was facing a ban from the KPCS, but a meeting in Namibia in October 2009 recommended against the ban. However, international diamond buyers have had to purchase Zimbabwe's gemstones in secrecy and avoid using the United States dollar in order to by-pass sanctions placed on Zimbabwe by the US.

Besides Zimbabwe, other countries which are likely to be affected by the development are Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Venezuela.

- the independent

 0

You May Like These Videos

Comments

There are no comments.

Latest stories

Mugabe Aeroplanes sold for $12.5 million

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 180 Views

Chamisa opens up on his visit to Manicaland

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 173 Views

NetOne outpaces competitors, active subscriber base balloons

by Ndou Paul | 20 March 2019 | 119 Views

South Africa send support to Cyclone Idai-hit Manicaland

by ZimLive | 20 March 2019 | 123 Views

How to choose the right powder welding machine

by Tech Reporter | 20 March 2019 | 81 Views

No one will die of hunger, Mnangagwa tells cyclone victims

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 98 Views

Mnangagwa off to affected areas

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 86 Views

Mohadi opens tobacco selling season

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 98 Views

This is not it Mr Mnangagwa!

by Editorial - Daily News | 20 March 2019 | 124 Views

Obert Mpofu to appear before Bulawayo court

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 98 Views

Mnangagwa, Chamisa cannot lead dialogue

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 91 Views

Uproar over illiterate councillor

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 87 Views

Kwekwe VID receiving bribes in exchange for drivers' licences

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 91 Views

Lupane school forced to close over goblins

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 85 Views

Mnangagwa plans to stop using army in demos

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 109 Views

Government sells NetOne and TelOne

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 145 Views

How Prophet Isaiah Sovi foretold Cyclone Idai

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 178 Views

'Joshua Nkomo made Mugabe the leader of ZANU in 1975'

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 148 Views

Water shortage to increase in Harare

by Mandla Ndlovu | 20 March 2019 | 114 Views

#Cyclone Idai: Mnangagwa on the ground

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 111 Views

Zesa gets new board

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 99 Views

Chamisa wants MPs to push for Department of Civil Protection reform

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 108 Views

Heavyweights vie for ZACC posts

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 86 Views

Leyland eyes Zimbabwe bus plant

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 108 Views

Potraz summons Liquid over tariff hike

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 88 Views

ZCTU bosses' freedom bid quashed

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 53 Views

Over 100 trucks transporting Zimbabwe wheat stuck in Mozambique

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 89 Views

Ex-Zanu-PF Senator sued over $368k power debt

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 104 Views

Bulilima West MP bemoans absence of referral hospital

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 90 Views

MP takes council to task over floods

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 82 Views

Men jailed 2 years for defacing Mnangagwa banner

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 89 Views

Man (21) kills brother (15) over food

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 92 Views

Headman leaves behind 35 children

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 102 Views

Mash Central MDC youth leader out on bail

by Staff reporter | 20 March 2019 | 49 Views