Zimbabwe’s Marange Diamonds and the Need for Reform of the Kimberley Process

Image: Flickr, GovernmentZA
Image: Flickr, GovernmentZA

In November 2011 the Kimberley Process (KP) approved the sale of diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange region.

The decision follows two years of contention and debate regarding human rights abuses perpetrated in the mining area and the question of whether Marange’s diamonds should be classified as ‘conflict diamonds’. The KP’s definition of conflict diamonds refers only to the role of ‘rebel groups and their allies’, and thus proved inadequate in describing the situation in Marange, where Zimbabwean police and military forces were widely implicated in human rights abuses and diamond smuggling. This policy brief suggests that, if the KP is to retain its legitimacy, its definition of ‘conflict diamonds’ should be amended to include the potential role of governments in using diamond revenues to finance human rights abuses.

24 Feb 2012