PAC criticises KP for Zimbabwe diamond violence

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Organisation calls for release of human rights activist Farai Maguwu.

Partenership Africa Canada (PAC) has released a new report which criticises the Kimberley Proccess and suggests Zimbabwe be excluded from certification.

The report explores issues ranging from smuggling to government-sponsored repression and human rights violations.

According to PAC, the Kimberley Proccess (KP), an international initiative created to ensure the trade in diamonds does not fund violence and civil war, has ‘lost its way’.

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Zimbabwe is not the only country failing to meet some of the basic requirements asked of diamond producing nations by the Kimberley Process (KP), but PAC has argued Zimbabwe sets itself apart from the others because of what it describes as ‘the government’s defiance of universally agreed principles of humanity and good governance expected of adherents to the KP.’

As such, PAC claimes Zimbabwe poses a serious crisis of credibility for the KP, asserting that events in Zimbabwe underscored a worrisome inability or unwillingness by the organisation to enforce either the letter, or the spirit, of its founding mandate.

The special KP monitor sent recently to assess Zimbabwe’s compliance with the KP produced a report which suggested certification be awarded to the Marange region. During the visit, Zibabwean human rights activist Farai Maguwu was arrested. Maguwu had been monitoring the alleged abuses in the diamond fields by the Zimbabwean army and police units.

PAC executive director Bernard Taylor said: "This is the latest in a series of attempts by the Zimbabwean authorities to intimidate human rights activists, and stop them from investigating and publicising ongoing abuses in the Marange diamond fields.

"Such harassment is wholly unacceptable and must stop. Farai Maguwu must be freed unconditionally".

PAC report, Diamonds and Clubs: The Militarized Control of Diamonds and Power in Zimbabwe, makes a series of recommendations to deal with the crisis in Zimbabwe and in the KP. Recommendations include suspending Zimbabwe from the KP and creating a new, broader definition of ‘conflict diamonds’.

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