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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Kimberley Process Member Challenges Zimbabwe Official Claims

A Kimberley Process member has challenged claims by Zimbabwean Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire that the watchdog group authorized Zimbabwe to hold sales from the controversial Marange diamond mines in 2011, according to the Voice of America.

In published comments, Chimanikire says that the KP will allow diamonds from the mine, which has been the source of alleged widespread human rights abuses, to be sold in two supervised auctions. Chimanikire says the agreement is to sell diamonds mined from 2006 to 2009, so they did not fall under a current suspension of sales by the KP.

Global Witness official, Elly Harrowell, a KP member, told VOA that she knows of no such decision. Harrowell is the first KP member to go on the record. The only other report disputing Chimanikire’s claim has come from an unidentified official from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In addition, KP members have until Monday to decide whether to revise Kimberley protocols to require three instead of two member nations to accept reports of violence in order to investigate further, VOA reports. The change would make it harder for critics of Marange operations to trigger a new inquiry.

To read more about this ongoing issue please search this site using the keyword “Zimbabwe.”

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