Thursday, August 13, 2009


12 August 2009
Johannesburg, South Africa

The Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Campaign (ZBDC) today added its voice to the
call for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Kimberley Process Certification
Scheme (KPCS).

Last month, the KPCS in a report produced after an on-site visit to Zimbabwe
recommended a six-month suspension of Zimbabwe from the sale of rough
diamonds until security, control and accountability systems are put in place
by the Zimbabwean government. On 9 August, Finance Minister Tendai Biti admitted that control processes were not effective when he observed that the looting of diamonds in Chiadzwa
was "an embarrassment and a mess". However, Zimbabwe's Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has opposed a ban, arguing that Zimbabwe's economy, which needs a resuscitation package of about US$8.3 billion, will be adversely affected.

ZBDC co-coordinator and human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba dismisses this
fear as unfounded, since no evidence has been produced so show how the
"Marange" diamonds have contributed to the national fiscus. The call is not for a permanent embargo, but a limited one that seeks to among other things the demilitarization of the diamond fields, an end to human rights violations and the immediate halting of the illegal trade.

Commenting on the KPCS report, Mr Shumba observed: "ZBDC is relieved that
its lobbying and advocacy efforts with the KPCS have paid off. In particular
we are encouraged by the fact that the KPCS was able to confirm that rampant
human rights violations are taking place in Chiadzwa."

"We can confirm that over 300 people have died and hundreds of others have
been maimed by government security forces that are in the area allegedly to
stem illegal mining, but are in fact illegally extracting the diamonds
themselves," he said.

"Women have been raped, and children maimed. There is very little doubt that
Chiadzwa diamonds are tainted with the blood of Zimbabweans. ZBDC has
incontestable proof of these violations," he confirmed.

Although President Robert Mugabe denied army atrocities in Chiadzwa
yesterday, the allegations by the ZBDC were echoed by Wilfred Mhanda, a
liberation war hero with the Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform.

On Defence Forces Day yesterday, Mr Mhanda* accused the army of spearheading
the campaign of violence in Chiadzwa, Marange.


Submitted by / for further information:

Gabriel Shumba

Co-coordinator Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Campaign

Human Rights Lawyer

Cell: +27 72 639 3795 or

Tel: +27 12 639 3795. (012) 322 6969

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