News / Africa

Regulators Arrive in Harare Prior to Controversial Diamond Sale

International diamond regulators have arrived in Harare ahead of the first legal sale of controversial diamonds from eastern Zimbabwe.

A review mission from international regulator the Kimberley Process are scheduled to travel Tuesday to southeastern Zimbabwe Tuesday, where they will inspect the controversial diamond fields in the Marange area.

Three companies are mining diamonds in a small section of Marange.  They include two Zimbabwean companies backed by South African and Mauritian financiers, and a Chinese company.

The Kimberley Process banned the legal sale of diamonds from Zimbabwe because of claims of gross human rights abuses in the diamond fields, problems with smuggling and a lack of security for the rough stones.  The Kimberley Process was formed six years ago to end trade in conflict diamonds.  Since then, some aspects of the international regulators' demands have been cleaned up.

Now the Kimberley Process says that if the situation actually has improved and after the stones are properly audited, all rough stones mined from May 28 through August 1 can be legally sold on Wednesday.

There has been much debate within the Kimberley Process about human rights abuses allegedly committed in the diamond fields.  Several international human rights groups say the diamond fields have been militarized, and that President Robert Mugabe's security forces ultimately control the Marange area.

Other groups, such as Global Witness, say there still are other outstanding issues.  One of them involves diamond rights investigator Farai Maguwu, who was held by police in poor conditions for more than a month in June.  He is now out on bail in eastern Zimbabwe.  But the attorney general's office has accused Maguwu of publishing false statements about Marange diamond operations which are detrimental to Zimbabwe.  Maguwu's reports claimed serious allegations of human rights abuses and led to the ban on sales of stones from Marange.

Tendai Biti, Movement for Democratic Change finance minister in the inclusive government, recently called for the stones to be sold legally.  He says the government has received no funds from Marange stones allegedly smuggled out of Zimbabwe and sold in Mozambique.

Abby Chikane, a South African appointed by the Kimberley Process as Zimbabwe monitor, says Zimbabwe's controversial diamonds should now be allowed to be certified and sold.

Chiam Evan Zohar a respected Israeli diamond analyst, while acknowledging alleged human rights abuses at the Marange diamond fields, has called for the legal sale of the controversial stones.  Zohar says they represent 25 percent of the world's diamonds.  The diamond analyst is currently in Zimbabwe representing the 'World Diamond Council.

Part of the area now being mined in Marange belongs to a British-registered company, African Consolidated Resources, according to a Harare high court order in September last year.  Company officials say they want Zimbabwe to benefit from the sale of the diamonds, but they may seek payments proportionate to the sale of stones from its small diamond fields in Marange.

Note: An earlier version of this story eroneously stated that 70 percent of children under five in Zimbabwe suffer stunted growth due to malnutrition. Data recently released by the Zimbabwean government, the United Nations and the Zimbabwe Food and Nutrition Council showed that "more than one third of Zimbabwe’s children under the age of five are chronically malnourished and consequently stunted." The National Nutrition Survey conducted in January "revealed a worsening problem of chronic malnutrition, posing long-term survival and development challenges for Zimbabwe. The survey also shows plummeting exclusive breastfeeding rates," a UNICEF report stated. But it added that, "the low and stable rates of severe acute malnutrition revealed by the survey are a credit to both the food security programmes supported by the international community as well as the coping mechanisms of the Zimbabwean people."

Commenting on the survey results, UNICEF Representative in Zimbabwe Dr. Peter Salama said the report "further demonstrated that the age of greatest vulnerability to malnutrition and infection is from the pre-natal period to 24 months." Dr. Salama identified this period as a “critical window of opportunity.”

VOA regrets the error in reporting the study findings.

 

You May Like

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

After Nearly 2 Years, Pistorius Remains Elusive

Reporter Anita Powell reflects on her experience covering the Olympic athlete's murder trial More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africai
X
Luis Ramirez
September 15, 2014 11:01 PM
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Obama to Ramp Up Anti-Ebola Efforts in Africa

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will unveil his plan to ramp up efforts against the spread of the Ebola virus in Africa. VOA White House Correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid