RAPAPORT… Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) called upon the UN Security Council to act toward Zimbabwe as it did with the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Angola during those countries’ blood diamond wars. In its report titled “Zimbabwe, Diamonds and the Wrong Side of History,” PAC notes that diamonds have become a major factor in President Robert Mugabe’s hold on power. “Diamond smuggling has become rampant and dozens of diamond miners have been murdered by the military, which now controls the country’s main diamond fields.”
PAC also accused the Kimberley Process of being unwilling and unable to deal with Zimbabwe. “The almost desperate insistence by some governments that the Kimberley Process has nothing to do with human rights is disgraceful,” said Ian Smillie, PAC’s research coordinator. “That is why our report is addressed to the UN Security Council. In the Kimberley Process there is no appetite for effective action.”
PAC asked the Kimberley Process to suspend Zimbabwe until the nation’s diamonds are properly managed, and until it can be established that a stockpile of more than 1.3 million carats has not been sold illegally or bartered by the government. PAC also reiterated the growing demand for the Kimberley Process to develop a clear and actionable protocol with regard to gross human rights abuses in the management of diamond resources.
The Kimberley Process “has done little more than debate internally whether or not it should issue a statement, and if so, how strong or mild it should be. As in previous cases where the Kimberley Process’ mettle has been tested, it has proven itself to be sluggish, timid and wholly inadequate, treating the process as a set of export control boxes to be checked off, regardless of the situation in the country,” PAC stated in the report.
“Consumer confidence in the purity of diamonds will only be maintained if the Kimberley Process is willing to take vigorous action to prevent tainted diamonds from entering the world’s diamond stream. In the case of Zimbabwe, the Kimberley Process is currently failing the test.”
Additionally, PAC called upon the Security Council to place an immediate embargo on diamonds from Zimbabwe until there is “legitimate and competent governance of the country’s diamond resources….The government must halt all human rights abuse and restore the rule of law and due process to the diamond fields of Chiadzwa and to the diamond industry as a whole. The government must halt the illegal smuggling of diamonds from Zimbabwe, especially where government officials are concerned,” PAC concluded.
The group also had choice words for South Africa, saying that its government is shielding Mugabe and “his disastrous management of Zimbabwe’s diamond resources.” In doing so, PAC declared, “South Africa endangers not just the Kimberley Process but the diamond industry as a whole.”