News / Africa

Zimbabwe Mines Minister Says Human Rights Groups Tried to Bribe Him

Zimbabwe's mines minister says two international human-rights groups tried to bribe him over Zimbabwe's controversial diamonds in the Marange area in south Eastern Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu claimed in the pro-ZANU-PF Sunday Mail in Harare that two international rights organizations, Human Rights Watch and Partnership Africa Canada, tried to "bribe" him at the Kimberley Process Certification conference in Tel Aviv to financially support their work.  Mpofu, who is a top member of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF, is trying to persuade the international regulator, the Kimberley Process, to certify its stockpile of diamonds for export.  Mpofu made his 'bribe' allegation after returning to Zimbabwe from a Kimberley Process conference in Tel Aviv that deadlocked on certification of Zimbabwe's diamonds from the Marange area.

Alan Martin, from Partnership Africa Canada, denied Sunday any bribe was offered to Mpofu.  Martin said civil-rights groups oppose certification of diamonds from the Marange area because they are not compliant with the Kimberley Process, which tries to stop sales of so-called 'blood diamonds."  He said the Kimberley Process monitor, South African Abbey Chikane, who cleared Zimbabwe to export the rough stones from Marange, had ignored smuggling of diamonds from Zimbabwe.

Human-rights groups monitoring the Marange diamonds say they were astonished when respected Israeli diamond analyst Chaim Even-Zohar last week backed Zimbabwe's bid for its diamonds to be certified by the Kimberley Process.  Even-Zohar said if the Zimbabwe diamonds were not exported legally they would all be smuggled out and would upset the prices of diamonds on the international market during a world wide recession.

Even-Zohar said the Kimberley Process is not a human-rights organization and its mandates assumed sovereign and legitimate governments were, as he put it, "OK."  He said the Kimberley Process only has mechanisms to deal with rebel groups using diamonds to oppose or undermine sovereign governments.  Even-Zohar said the Kimberley Process has no mechanism to deal with a country like Zimbabwe, which is itself what he called a "rogue actor."

De Beers diamond group executive director Jonathan Oppenheimer said Sunday there is "concern" over diamond mining in Zimbabwe, but there is no "blood diamond conflic" and there is a legitimate government in place in Harare.  He said the Kimberley Process is therefore in a difficult position.

Human Rights Watch claims harassment is continuing in Marange and that some informal miners are forced to hand over any rough stones they find to members of Mr. Mugabe's army.  Its recent report says those stones are then sold on the black market.

Civil rights groups say many miners have been killed by Mr. Mugabe's security forces in the Marange diamond fields.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
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 US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
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.

AppleAndroid