(photo credit: Associated Press)
The global control body for the prevention of trade in blood diamonds, chaired
by Israel, has struck a compromise to break the deadlock over Zimbabwean
“An agreement was of urgent necessity to avert a crisis,” Boaz
Hirsch, who represents Israel as chairman of the Kimberley Process, said on
Tuesday. “The past several months have been difficult, but they have clearly
demonstrated that not only does the process have teeth, it also is able to
According to the agreement reached at the World Diamond
Congress in Moscow over the weekend, Zimbabwe will be able to carry out by
September two supervised exports of rough diamonds from the Marange production
in eastern Zimbabwe.
During this period, the Kimberley Process will send
a review mission to the country, which will be held in conjunction with the
first visit to the country by Abbey Chikane, a South African who has been
appointed the Kimberley Process monitor to Zimbabwe.
Chikane will pay
another visit to Zimbabwe on the week of September 6, to certify the second
The Kimberley Process Monitoring Committee will
formulate a position on future exports after receiving the review mission’s
After human rights groups documented violations and killings in
the country’s diamond mines, the Kimberley Process last year sanctioned Zimbabwe
for “significant noncompliance,” thus banning the sale of Marange diamonds to
member states, but stopped short of expelling it. Instead it sent Chikane to the
region, to examine the situation on the ground and make recommendations to the
assembly on how to proceed.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch said in
a report last year that its researchers had found evidence of forced labor,
torture, beatings and harassment by troops in the Marange diamond field in
eastern Zimbabwe, and had called for removing it from the process.
Israel took over the revolving chairmanship of the Kimberley Process in January,
Zimbabwe has been the main focus at its plenary meetings.
intercessional conference in Tel Aviv last month, it failed to come to an
agreement about whether Zimbabwe’s diamonds should be certified as
conflict-free. At the next meeting, scheduled to take place in Israel in
November, the effectiveness of the new compromise agreement and monitor reports
will be reviewed with the aim of taking a decision on future exports.
Kimberley Process is made up of three types of members: states,
of the diamond industry and human rights organizations.
These groups try
to work together to ensure that consumers know that the diamonds they
not funding violence or causing grave human rights
Traditionally, blood diamonds – also known as conflict
diamonds – were diamonds that were mined by rebel movements to finance
conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments.