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‘Zim diamonds still unclean’

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PARLIAMENT has been urged to speed up the crafting of the Diamond Act which is meant to, among other things, protect human rights.

REPORT BY VENERANDA LANGA SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER

This follows reports that even the Kimberley Process Certification (KPC) did not include human rights abuses in its certification mandate.

A recent paper on the human rights dimension to mineral-related corruption published by Transparency International Zimbabwe, alleged the KPC had weaknesses in terms of safeguarding human rights in the diamond mining sector.

“Though the Kimberley Certification Process has helped to drastically reduce wars and stop human rights abuses linked to diamonds, it has its own inherent weaknesses which limit its effectiveness as a mechanism of safeguarding human rights in the extractive industries of member states,” read the TIZ report.

“The mandate of the KPC does not include human rights issues and so far, attempts to expand the mandate of the KPC to include human rights have been resisted by diamond mining countries such as Zimbabwe, which ironically is being accused by civil society groups within and outside the country of violating human rights,” they said.

The report said Zimbabwe was flouting environmental, economic, social and cultural rights of communities in the Chiadzwa area.

Consultant and University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer Gideon Zhou said the solution was to ensure that there was political will to craft laws to prevent mineral-related corruption and human rights abuses.

“The Diamond Act must emphasise the issue of auditing, accountability, human rights and ensure there is corporate social responsibility by mines,” Zhou said.

Last month the KPC ruled withdrawal of monitors in Zimbabwe to allow unhindered exports of diamonds.

This would mean Zimbabwe will no longer be monitored by a sitting appointee of the KPC and will trade normally in diamonds like other countries.

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