The increased militarisation of diamond mining in Africa where some governments “have very serious democratic deficit” is worrying, a rights activist has said.
Zimbabwe-based Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) director Farai Maguwu told a gathering on the sidelines of a Kimberley Process meeting in Mumbai, India that “those with levers of power” were personalising diamonds in Africa.
“Because of this militarisation, the revenue never finds way to the national treasury and this has given rise to the law of combined and uneven development whereby the areas where mining is taking place are getting poorer and poorer and expensive buildings and cars are purchased, hundreds of miles away from where the mining is taking place,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maguwu said that the systematic human rights violations in the eastern parts of Zimbabwe are shocking.
“Artisanal miners, if they are caught panning or anywhere near the diamond fields, they are handcuffed with their hands at the back and vicious dogs are set on them,” he said.
“Annually, we are talking about the death of around 40 artisanal miners. You cannot spend a month without having cases of three or four artisanal miners who are killed in cold blood by the ZCDC security.”
He said although African governments signed up to the Washington Declaration of 2012, they are very reluctant to put in place a regulatory framework to allow artisanal mining to take place in their countries.
The Washington Declaration of 2012 speaks to the formalisation of artisanal and alluvial diamond mining.
The declaration came after the realisation that artisanal and small-scale mining of diamonds represented approximately 25 percent of the world’s rough diamond trade.