The Kimberley Process should redefine 'blood diamonds'
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It is correct that the KP needs to modernise its functions by ensuring the term "conflict diamonds" accurately reflects contemporary concerns about human rights abuses by governments against their own people such as in Zimbabwe as it did at its formation ten years ago when the perpetrators were rebels.
Then, the term "blood diamonds" referred to diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army's war efforts or a warlord's activities, usually in Africa. But the situation has changed now with governments as culprits.
As to be expected, Zanu-PF's Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has threatened to resist the proposal to redefine â€˜conflict diamonds' because of its implications for the coterie behind the Chiadzwa diamonds.
It is common knowledge that the regime's position is influenced by its reluctance to address tragic human rights abuses which were committed by the military at Marange's Chiadzwa diamond fields, fearing possible prosecution and possible massive compensation claims.
Sadly, some gem dealers and jewellers have also threatened to lock horns over the proposal floated by the Kimberley Process Chairperson from the United States, Ambassador Gialian A Milovanovic.
Notably, Indian jewellers are reportedly gunning for a showdown with the KP Chair over plans to include diamond-related violence in rough diamond producing and trading areas.
Opposition is also expected to plans by the KP to introduce a permanent administrative office of the Kimberly Process at the forthcoming intercessional meeting scheduled in Washington from June 4.
Naturally, only those states and dealers who have benefited from blood diamonds and the organisational weaknesses of the Kimberley Process would stand to lose from planned improvements in governance.
Furthermore, the detractors to the proposed changes inevitably expose themselves to criticism of unashamedly thriving on evil (the sale of blood or now conflict diamonds).
Genuine Zimbabwe's civil society organisations are expected to support the fight for the adoption of a new definition which will facilitate accountability for human rights abuses and money laundering. Obviously, there will be fierce debate at the meeting.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London email@example.com
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Source: Clifford Chitupa Mashiri
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