News / Africa

Diplomats to Tour Controversial Zimbabwe Diamond Fields

An illegal diamond dealer from Zimbabwe displays diamonds for sale in Manica, near the border with Zimbabwe. (File Photo)An illegal diamond dealer from Zimbabwe displays diamonds for sale in Manica, near the border with Zimbabwe. (File Photo)
x
An illegal diamond dealer from Zimbabwe displays diamonds for sale in Manica, near the border with Zimbabwe. (File Photo)
An illegal diamond dealer from Zimbabwe displays diamonds for sale in Manica, near the border with Zimbabwe. (File Photo)
HARARE - Western ambassadors are expected to tour controversial diamond fields in Zimbabwe, following an invitation by the government, which is trying to move past reports security forces beat, tortured and killed miners. President Robert Mugabe and his allies are pushing to have Western travel and financial sanctions lifted.
 
Announcing the visit last week, Zimbabwe’s minister of mines, Obert Mpofu, said he hoped the visit by Western diplomats would put to rest claims of human-rights abuses by security forces in the diamond-mining fields.
 
“The EU ambassadors and Western country ambassadors are going to Marange [diamond fields] next week.  We said come.  In fact, they asked for that permission a long time ago ...  We are open to scrutiny,”
Mpofu said.

In an interview, European Union Ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell’Arricia confirmed Western diplomats will visit the Marange diamond fields next week.  He said contrary to what Mpofu told business delegates, it was actually the Zimbabwean government that invited diplomats to visit the fields, which are about 400 kilometers east of Harare.

"There is an issue related to the fact [that] one of the companies, which is listed by the European Union, is the Zimbabwe Mining Development (ZMDC).  Reflection about the measures is something which is taking place independent of this visit," Dell’Arricia said.

The United States, Britain and other countries imposed sanctions on companies it deemed to be helping Mugabe and his party oppress political opponents and suppress human rights.

The ZMDC is a government-owned company that controls minerals in Zimbabwe and has several board members who are on the EU sanctions list.  It is involved in mining diamonds in Marange, and linked to human-rights abuses.

Until recently, the Marange diamond fields were off-limits, except to Mugabe’s allies.  Many have seen this softening stance as a way to convince the West to lift the sanctions imposed in 2002. Mugabe has on several occasions argued that he respects human rights and is warming up to the West.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid