A government-sponsored tour of Chiadzwa diamond fields has failed to persuade human rights activists that mining abuses have stopped or that miners are being open about what they earn, activists have said.
Farai Maguwu, who has documented alleged abuses
in the region, was among the activists who toured the region last week.
Maguwu claims rights abuses continue, and that people report police and soldiers beating them at roadblocks on suspicions of illegal diamond mining.
Others on the tour said government agents tried to keep them from seeing too much.
Shamiso Mutisi, of Zimbabwe’s Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, joined the tour and on Friday called for improvement in accounting of diamond production. He said there was little transparency.
The world’s diamond-regulating body, the Kimberley Process, in November allowed Zimbabwe to sell its diamonds on the world market despite concerns by rights groups that human rights abuses still persisted at the Marange fields.
Maguwu told journalists they were “not given the opportunity” to talk to villagers so as to ascertain the extent of rights violations.
“Human rights abuses continue to take place. We want this to stop completely. We were impressed with the infrastructure and the security in place.
But we would be happier if it’s realised that the accelerated production we witnessed is translated into revenue collection by central government, and translates into material wealth for Zimbabweans,” Maguwu said.