Zimbabwe to ignore diamond trade ban

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe announces the country will be resuming its trade in diamonds.

Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe has announced that the country will resume diamond sales, despite its lack of Kimberley Process (KP) certification.

Mugabe made the statement in a speech to open a new session of parliament this week. KP banned the sale of Zimbabwe diamonds from mines in the Marange region earlier this year, after reports surfaced of severe human rights violations and the possible theft of stones to fund military purposes.

Zimbabwe reacted to the loss of Marange certification by imposing a blanket ban on all its diamond exports until certification was granted.

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KP monitor Abbey Chikane, who visited the country earlier this year, recommended that certification be reissued to the Marange mines. This sparked a global outcry from human rights organisations, such as Human Rights Watch, who claimed that serious human rights violations were still ongoing.

On Tuesday, Mugabe finally claimed the sale of diamonds was necessary for Zimbabwe’s economic health and therefore the sale of diamonds would go ahead without KP approval.

"Let there be no doubt whatsoever about our resolve to sell our diamonds for the benefit of our country and its people," Mugabe said in a speech to open a new session of parliament.

"With Zimbabwe now projected to contribute around 25 percent of the global diamond output, there are huge prospects for the diamond sub-sector to emerge as a major driver of the country’s economic turnaround."
 

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