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Marange, Chiadzwa and other diamond fields and the Kimberley Process - Index of articles
Zanu PF involved in undermining civil society diamond fight
Bell, SW Radio Africa
December 02, 2013
View this article
on the SW Radio Africa website
Efforts by civil
society groups to push a human rights agenda at the international
diamond trade watchdog, the Kimberley Process (KP), are being undermined
by some of the key beneficiaries of the sector, including Zanu-PF.
civil society wing have been fighting a drawn out battle to pressure
the monitoring group to reform, in order to better fight diamond
trade-linked human rights abuses.
The most recent
plenary session of the KP again failed to take these reforms on
board, with the views expressed by the civil society members of
the body instead being criticised as “malicious.” That
meeting was held in South Africa, whose rotating chairmanship will
soon be handed over to China.
At that meeting,
the representative of the Civil Society Coalition, Shamiso Mtisi,
had strong words for South Africa and other KP member states for
their slow pace of reform. He again voiced calls for the KP to start
taking stern measures against countries where human rights abuses
and illicit sales of diamonds are taking place, as in Zimbabwe.
high time (the) KP makes mandatory the control and licensing of
diamond mines, offers effective security and gives licenses to artisanal
miners if needed,” he said.
Mtisi also criticised
the body for certifying Zimbabwe’s compliance with its diamond
sale benchmarks, while ignoring the lack of transparency and accountability
in the extraction and sale of diamonds in Zimbabwe.
Tafadzwa Musarara, who heads the party’s aligned Resources
Exploitation Watch, then hit back at Mtisi in an opinion piece published
by the Daily News newspaper. Musarara wrote that Mtisi’s comments
were “malicious, contemptuous and riddled with falsehoods.”
the piece to laud the newly appointed Zim mines minister Walter
Chidhakwa as “a shark” who faced the civil society “attack”
with alleged “dignity.” Musarara wrote that, “Chidhakwa
succeeded in ensuring that the Civil Society Coalition sponsored
reforms are thwarted by successfully mobilising African and Asian
countries to vote against the motion.”
The KP was originally
formed with the narrow mandate to prevent the trade in diamonds
whose profits help fund terror, bloodshed and civil war. Civil society
has been urging a reform of the body to include a human rights focus.
according to the Civil Society Coalition, help end diamond
mining linked abuses. Alan Martin, from the Partnership African
Canada group, which is also part of the civil society wing of the
KP, said that this reform agenda is critical for the KP to remain
is still stymied by a need for consensus on its decision making.
If they continue to deny the need to reform, it gives credence to
beliefs that they are no longer relevant” Martin told SW Radio
that, although slow, there is beginning to be an acknowledgment
that change is necessary and not merely a knee-jerk, polticised
reaction to the Zimbabwe diamond situation. He dismissed the comments
by Musarara, saying those attitudes do not reflect what is happening
in the KP.
government NGO groups, like Resources Exploitation Watch, are always
going to have these opinions. But they are not relevant because
they’re absent from the process. They’re not at the
table. So they are welcome to their opinion, but they really have
no basis,” Martin said.
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