Zimbabwe and the Kimberley Process

Isaac Mostovicz writes that the export ban on diamonds from Zimbabwe remains in place...

Diamonds from Marange fields in Zimbabwe have been all over the news of late. Diamonds from Zimbabwe are not currently certified by the Kimberley Process (which works to stop the trade in diamonds that finance conflict), and the Zimbabwean military has been accused of seizing control of these fields and organizing smuggling operations. There’s currently an export ban on Zimbabwean diamonds because they aren’t certified conflict-free, and this week the ban was upheld by Kimberley Process members, but Zimbabwe is now considering exporting diamonds anyway.

It’s a difficult situation, because if these diamonds were sourced ethically and formally allowed to be exported, they could greatly benefit Zimbabwe’s economy and put its diamond production efforts on par with Botswana. And while it appears that efforts are being made to improve the situation, Kimberley Process members weren’t confident that the sourcing of the diamonds met its standards because the fields remain under control of the Zimbabwean military, which is accused of committing human rights abuses in addition to smuggling the diamonds out of Zimbabwe.

A subgroup of the Kimberley Process is meeting next month to try to reach a compromise on Zimbabwe; we’ll have to wait and see if this impasse can be resolved.

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