Thursday, August 19, 2010

Even-Zohar's View: Sabotaging Confidence

Chaim Even-Zohar

The most disgraceful form of journalism is the kind practiced by those who have made up their minds and will never allow either facts or the truth to influence their writing. When such journalism is tied to specific elaborate commercial interests to be served “uber alles”, it makes the expressed views only more distasteful. Most decent people will not waste time with either reading or commenting. It is not worth it.

The Kimberley Process Monitor for Zimbabwe certified last week a limited export from the Mbada and Canadile mines, which by any standard are world-class mining operations well above diamond mining average standards.

These two mines employ between them some 1,000 workers drawn from local Chiadzwa tribes and villages, enabling those people to earn a decent living – quite spectacular in a country where formal unemployment is well over 90 percent. As each worker supports some 20-30 dependants, it should be a source of satisfaction to caring people that diamonds can bring so much good to an otherwise quite despondent country.

There are no human rights violations or abuses involved with these KP-compliant mines. The suggestion that the KP-certified Marange diamonds are involved in human rights violations and the suggestion that there is no guarantee that these KP certifications are free of human rights violations is a perversion of truth – and probably actionable.

Some of the buyers of these goods are among the world’s largest and most prestigious diamond concerns, including DTC Sightholders, committed to elaborate corporate best practices and corporate social responsibility policies. To impinge on the decency of these companies is nothing short of contemptuous.

The KP is far from perfect, and the need for system reforms is self-evident. Indeed, reforms are on the agenda and being actively pursued.

However, an attempt to delegitimize the KP Certification System and suggestions that it represents certification of human rights violations impacts the standing and trust in any and all of the 50,000 export certificates that are issued per year. This may deeply hurt confidence throughout the diamond business – from rough trader to consumer – and may cause irreparable damage.

That is an objective that is easy to achieve by misguided writers when facts and truth are so dispensable and useless.

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