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Zimbabwe's Flawed Diamonds

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Despite findings of diamond smuggling facilitated by the military, a lack of necessary controls, as well as human rights abuses against miners and residents of the Marange diamond fields, Zimbabwe did not receive a temporary ban on all of its rough diamond exports. Zimbabwe's suspect diamond trade lives to mine another day.

The United States remains deeply concerned about the situation in and around Marange and urges that the new oversight agreed to for the area be quickly and fully implemented.

At the recent Kimberley Process annual plenary in Namibia, the 75-nation, international initiative to stem the flow of conflict diamonds tackled the question of what action to take in response to findings by investigators during a visit this past July that Zimbabwean security forces had taken over mines in the Marange district and forced area residents to work the holdings. The team also documented, as have numerous NGOs and media outlets, severe human rights abuses in the area.

The Kimberley Process reached consensus on a plan under which Zimbabwe agreed to impose more stringent controls on the diamond trade in Marange, including through the placement of an independent monitor to ensure that those controls are observed. Moreover, Zimbabwe agreed not to export Marange diamonds until the monitoring mechanism is in place.

The plan obligates Zimbabwe, as a participant in the Kimberley Process, to commit substantial effort and resources to the work plan. If it does not, the U.S. expects the Kimberley Process to take the necessary step of suspending Zimbabwe's rough diamond imports and exports entirely.

The U.S. urges all diamond dealers and countries participating in the Kimberley Process, including Zimbabwe's neighbors and trading partners, to demonstrate their full commitment to the principles on which the effort to stem the tide of conflict diamonds was established.