Kimberley Diamonds or Blood Diamonds?

Letter to HR/VP Catherine Ashton, co-signed by a number of Members of the European Parliament.[:]


Dear Vice President Ashton,

We write to share with you two concerns: (1) the fate of Zimbabwean citizen Farai Maguwu, a researcher of diamond mining and diamond trade in Mutare and (2) the moral devaluation of the Kimberley Process to ban the trade in conflict diamonds.

On Thursday June 3 2010 Mr Maguwu was arrested by the police in Mutare, Zimbabwe. Today, June 12,  Zimbabwean sources tell that Mr Maguwu has disappeared from a prison in Harare and has been taken illegally to a secret service prison. Mr Maguwu is the director of the NGO Centre for Research and Development and has published about the diamond mining in the Chiadzwa/Marange Area including the involvement of security forces. Zimbabwean defence forces were implicated in committing numerous and serious human rights violations, including killings, beatings, torture, forced labour, and child labour. Mr Maguwu is charged for leaking official documents about the involvement of the defence forces to others outside the country. We fear for the physical well being of Farai Maguwu.

Zimbabwe is a member of the Kimberley Process and can trade its legally mined diamonds with all other members. Diamonds from the Chiadzwa/Marange Area are often illicit and are traded via Mozambique, a country that is not a member of the KP, therefore this trade is illegal. Diamonds from formal mines get a Kimberley certificate and can be legally traded on the world market. Human Rights abuses take place in the informal diamond mines as well as in the formal mines.

Europe was the author of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) for Rough Diamonds. The KP was set up to stop trade by warlords and does not take into account the human rights records of nation states, e.g. the members. The Kimberley Process played its role, but is now being misused by governments like Zimbabwe to whitewash human rights abuse. The European Union can not sit back and watch the Kimberley Process loose its moral legitimacy.

From June 21 to June 23 the members of the Kimberley Process will meet for the inter sessional in Tel Aviv, Israel. The situation in Zimbabwe will be high on the agenda.

During the November meeting of the KPCS in Swakupmond trade in diamonds from the Chiadzwa/Marange area was put on hold. To undo this, basic human rights standard have to be met in the diamond mining area. Until now this did not happen. Therefore this ban should not be lifted.

Furthermore we urge the European Commission and the Member States to address the shortcomings of the KPSC. This is the moment to redefine the aims of the scheme by including protection of human rights in the diamond mining and trading industry.

Farai Maguwu risks his life to show the world that the Zimbabwean government does not protect its citizens in diamond mining areas and he asks us to act. It is unexplainable to him and his fellow citizens that countries can mistreat their citizens and still get an approval for legally mined diamonds.

We ask you to monitor the situation of Mr Farai Maguwu closely and to make a strong case for including protection of human rights in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme during the meeting in Tel Aviv.

Yours faithfully,
Judith Sargentini, Greens/EFA
Michael Cashman, S+D
Barbara Lochbihler, Greens/EFA
Heidi Hautala, Greens/EFA
Michael Gahler, PPE
Ana Gomes, S+D
Filip Kaczmarek, PPE