A UN-mandated global watchdog has agreed to end year-long monitoring controls on Zimbabwe's diamond trade, after it found the government had allayed concerns over its Marange mines.
Zimbabwe's diamond industry has been tarnished by allegations of
human rights abuses since 2008 when Harare deployed security forces to
drive away small-scale miners from the Marange fields.
activists said 200 miners were killed in the operation, and the country
was suspended from the so-called 80-member Kimberley Process (KP), which
certifies global sales of "conflict-free diamonds."
Zimbabwe was allowed to start selling diamonds from the Marange mines
again but under a strict monitoring process imposed for a year by the
global watchdog, set up to combat "blood diamonds".
course of that year, Zimbabwe put in a significant good faith effort. It
did, in the opinion of the monitors who went on repeated occasions to
Zimbabwe ... achieve most of the things that they needed to achieve, and
in some cases did better than what one might have hoped," said Gillian
Milovanovic, the body's chairwoman.
"Based on the monitors'
evaluations ... it was determined that in fact Zimbabwe had complied
with that which was expected of it," she said on Friday, at the end of a
four-day meeting in Washington.
"So the sunset clause entered into effect, and the special monitoring regime is no longer in effect."
the decision is likely to anger rights groups and non-governmental
organisations which have been arguing in vain for a broader definition
of the term "conflict diamond".
Earlier this month, the
non-governmental organisation Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) said a
network of ministers and military officials had siphoned about $US2
billion ($A1.93 billion) worth of diamonds out of Zimbabwe in the past
"We continue to have concerns about ... revenue
transparency related to diamond revenues" in Zimbabwe, PAC's director of
research Alan Martin told the media conference in Washington.