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15 December 2017 02:30 (South Africa)

World's biggest diamond trader says ‘blood diamond’ body not doing its job

The world's biggest diamond trading network has banned its members from dealing in gems from Zimbabwe’s Marange fields because of reports of human rights violations. New York-based Rapaport Group’s RapNet Diamond Trading Network says it believes that "blood diamonds" from the Marange fields have been legally exported to the world's main diamond cutting centres with Kimberley Process Certificates, and may be reaching retailers as polished diamonds. This opens a real can of worms, as the Kimberley Process exists to monitor gems that fund conflict and war (most infamously in Liberia and Sierra Leone). RapNet's boss Martin Rapaport said the Kimberley Process was being used as a fig leaf to cover up human rights abuses. The fact that the Process decided not to suspend Zimbabwe earlier this month will now put it under the same kind of scrutiny to which it is supposed to subject the diamond industry. Another New York-based organisation, Human Rights Watch, alleges that more than 200 people were killed in 2008 when Zimbabwe's army and police cleared thousands of illegal miners from Marange. Meanwhile, reports say Mauritius-based Grandwell, which is linked to South Africa's Old Mutual, has begun mining in Marange. Read more: Bloomberg, Yahoo! Finance

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