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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Report: Kimberley Process Officials Debate Zimbabwe Diamonds

Photo by Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, AP

Kimberly Process Certification Scheme officials are at a stalemate on whether to remove all restrictions on Zimbabwe's s sale of diamonds from the controversial Marange field, Voice of America and other media agencies reports.

KP officials meeting in Jerusalem are expected to reach a final decision today, according to the reports. The Kimberley Process is charged with preventing trade in “blood” or “conflict” diamonds, the term used for diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, invading army's war efforts, or a warlord's activity. There is debate on whether there are human rights abuses in Marange field and, if so, whether the diamond industry should continue to trade in one of the largest diamond areas in the world.

The organization is going over a report about trade in the diamond fields in the Southern African country. Bloomberg News, quoting KP chairman Boaz Hirsch, said the report offers mixed results.

Foreign and domestic human-rights organizations have criticized Zimbabwe for violence against civilians in the Marange diamond fields of eastern Zimbabwe, Bloomberg News reports. The criticism led to investigations by the Kimberley Process over the past year. Zimbabwe was allowed to hold two diamond sales in August and September under the watch of the KP.

Human Rights Watch, the New York-based advocacy group, alleged in June 2009 that Zimbabwe’s military may have killed as many as 200 informal miners working at Marange. The group had called for a ban on Marange diamonds unless Zimbabwe adheres to Kimberley Process standards, Bloomberg reports. Zimbabwean Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, who is attending the Kimberley Process meeting in Israel, denied there were any remaining areas of non-compliance.

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