Rights groups meeting at the Kimberley Process (KP) reform meetings underway in Mumbai, India are pushing for Zimbabwean diamonds to be classified as “conflict diamonds” and barred from world markets, according to media reports.
NewZWire reports that the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KPCSC) are lobbying for a new definition of conflict diamonds, which will include reference to “public security forces or private (including criminal or mercenary) armed groups”, as well as to “systemic and widespread violence, forced labour, the worst forms of child labour and violations of international humanitarian law”.
This, if approved, could restrict market access for Zimbabwean and Angolan gems.
“To some, this may all sound like old news”, Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) head Farai Maguwu was quoted as saying.
“But for affected communities, it remains today’s tragedy.”
CNRG appealed to the UN last April to classify Zimbabwean stones as “blood diamonds”.
Tiffany’s said at the time that it would not buy diamonds from Angola and Zimbabwe.
Head of the Zimbabwean Environmental Lawyers Association Shamiso Mtisi said it was increasingly difficult to ignore links between diamonds and ethics issues like violence.
“The only way to counter these negative associations is to stop them from happening,” he said.
The activists plan to lobby for Zimbabwean diamonds to be banned at a UN meeting this September.
State-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company is planning to boost its output this year to 4.1 million carats from 2.8 million carats in 2018.