It being the feast of Saint Valentine, today is a favored moment to give or receive that ultimate lovers’ gift: a diamond. This year, however, isn’t a good one for those who want to know for sure that the stone’s origins are above reproach.
The Kimberley Process, which aims to curb the sale of diamonds used to fund wars, is being undermined by gems from Zimbabwe, accused by human rights groups of committing abuses against its residents, Martin Rapaport, chairman of Rapaport Group.
The Kimberley Process has authorized Zimbabwe’s Diamond Mining Co. (Pvt) Ltd. to sell gems from the Marange diamond fields, the state-controlled Sunday Mail said, citing the secretary for mines, Prince Mupazviriho.
Cameroon has joined the Kimberley Process on diamond certification, paving the way for output to start at a deposit discovered four years ago, said Minister of Mines, Industries and Technological Development Emmanuel Bonde.
Zimbabwe must demonstrate how it will prevent diamonds from its Marange fields being smuggled over the border to Mozambique if it wants to freely export gems from the deposit, which it mines minister says is the biggest diamond discovery in a century.
Zimbabwe should be banned from selling diamonds to members of the Kimberley Process , created to end trade in stones mined to fund conflict and war, after claims of smuggling, rape and assault by the country’s army and police at its Marange gem fields, Global Witness said.