- Category: Stories
- Published on Thursday, 25 November 2010 07:38
- Written by Charles Rukuni
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African Diamond Producers say Zimbabwe should now be allowed to sell its diamonds from Marange without any hindrance because its mines are compliant with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. They have also threatened to take unspecified action if the outgoing KP chair Boaz Hirsch does not withdraw his statement that Zimbabwe should not sell its diamonds. The African Diamond Council and African Diamond Producers Association has 15 members which are: Angola, Botswana, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo (which is taking over chairmanship of KP in January), Ghana, Guinea, Lesotho, Liberia, Namibia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Seven other countries: Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia- have observer status.The African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA) statement on the KP chair’s statement on Marange.
ADPA notes with serious concern a notice by the outgoing Israeli chair of the Kimberley Process certification Scheme Mr Boaz Hirsch, dated November 17th, in which he unilaterally declares that “No trade of Marange diamonds can currently take place under the (Kwakopmund) Joint Work Plan”.
ADPA hereby wishes to reiterate the fact that:
A recent Kimberley Process (KP) review mission to Zimbabwe found the country’s mines to be compliant with the minimum requirements of the KP and therefore Zimbabwe has the right to export its diamonds just like any other participant in the scheme.
Zimbabwean diamonds cannot be held at ransom just because a minority of countries within the KP continue to block consensus deliberately. The motives behind the attempt to block Zimbabwean diamonds are sinister and driven by political agendas on the part of those countries. This is not in line with the minimum requirements agreed to in Interlakken, Switzerland, in November 2002, and is a blatant abuse of the process.
No country in the world has the right to block another country’s trade. That is a violation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. The Working document of the KP agreed upon in Interlakken by all participants deals only with conflict diamonds as defined by the United nations Security Council Resolution; that is, “Diamonds used by a rebel group to overthrow a legitimately elected government”. There is no civil war in Zimbabwe and there is no rebel group in Zimbabwe attempting to overthrow a legitimately elected government. Therefore there are no conflict diamonds in Zimbabwe. Even if some diamonds in Zimbabwe are smuggled, those qualify as “illicit diamonds” but not as “conflict diamonds”. Therefore the unilateral ban on Zimbabwean diamonds by the Israeli Chair is illegal and not in line with the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process. The outgoing Chair is out of line and has no mandate from the KP plenary to make such a unilateral declaration. The KP has exceeded its mandate as was accepted by the World Trade Organisation and the United Nations General Assembly, international institutions under law that have the prerogative to opine on such issues.
The African Diamond Producers Association call upon Mr Boaz Hirsch to withdraw his statement with immediate effect. Otherwise ADPA urges Zimbabwe to take legal action to protect its interests. ADPA might also be forced to make a declaration that might have severe negative ramifications regarding the continued participation of its member states in a process that is clearly being hijacked and used as a vehicle for political and commercial agendas of a few participants in the Kimberley Process.
ADPA hereby wishes to state categorically that Zimbabwe has complied with the minimum requirements of the Kimberley Process and ADPA participants stand behind Zimbabwe and encourage that the country continue selling its diamonds to all willing buyers without constraints.
ADPA further urges the KP Chair and all its working bodies to work within the framework of KP rules and to treat all participants fairly and equally, and to desist from making any further ad hoc and unilateral decisions that are not in the spirit of the KP arrangement agreed upon by all participants in Interlakken, Switzerland.
Eng. Edgar de Carvalho
ADPA executive Secretary
On behalf of ADPA participants