Home > International News > Zimbabwe diamond sales ban urged

Zimbabwe diamond sales ban urged

diamondZimbabwe is facing calls to be suspended from the the international diamond trade, following allegations of brutality by its soldiers. Rights groups are lobbying members of the Kimberly Process, the body which regulates the trade in rough diamonds, to halt exports from Zimbabwe.

Activists say soldiers have killed about 200 people at a diamond field. The government denies the claims. Kimberly Process members are meeting in Namibia later. Namibia’s government is a close ally of Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe’ Zanu-PF party, which is accused of profiting from the diamonds.

The Kimberly Process, which has 70 members, was set up in 2003 to assure consumers that by purchasing diamonds they are not financing war or human rights abuses. Campaigners are warning that its credibility will be undermined if it fails to act against Zimbabwe. ‘Nightmare of lawlessness’

The country’s Marange diamond fields were once used by local prospectors to gather diamonds and sell on the black market. But troops moved in late last year, and rights groups say they massacred about 200 people.

Human Rights Watch said the police and army have turned what was a peaceful area into a “nightmare of lawlessness and horrific violence”. Activists say local people are now being forced to search for diamonds, with all the profit being taken by Zanu-PF. But some analysts argue that even if Zimbabwe were suspended, it would be almost impossible to prevent all the diamonds which are mined illegally from reaching the international market.

Source: GBC NEWS

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