HRW calls for Zimbabwe diamonds boycott

Human Rights Watch has called on governments, companies and consumers to stop buying Zimbabwe diamonds until all members of the Kimberley Process agree that the…
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Human Rights Watch has called on governments, companies and consumers to stop buying Zimbabwe diamonds until all members of the Kimberley Process agree that the country is “monitoring for human rights abuses” and “complying with the KP standards”.
 
 According to HRW business and human rights director Arvind Ganesan, the KP’s June 23 decision to allow exports from Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields goes against the very spirit and purpose of the Kimberley Process as Mathieu Yamba (chairman of the Kimberly Process) made the decision unilaterally.

“Miners, retailers, and consumers have relied on the Kimberley Process to stop blood diamonds from being sold, but with Chairman Yamba’s decision, the KP has betrayed their trust,” he said.

“Governments and companies should ignore his decision unless they want to make blood diamonds available to consumers and ruin the credibility of the Kimberly Process as well.”

Diamond exports from Marange have been suspended since June 2009 because of police and military abuses in the minefields, including killings, beatings, forced labor and diamond smuggling.

Human Rights Watch urged the KP governments to suspend diamond sales from Marange until the dispute is resolved, asked retailers to explicitly refuse Marange diamonds, and urged consumers to ask retailers whether Marange diamonds are sold in those stores.

“The KP desperately needed to reform to ban the sale of all blood diamonds, not just some,” Ganesan said. “But the chairman chose profits over rights and might have ruined the KP in the process.

“Consumers aren’t going to care whether it is blood shed by governments or rebels since the diamonds are tainted either way.”

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