Harare: One of the world`s largest diamond
trading networks said today it will expel members who
knowingly trade Zimbabwean stones that have been tainted by
allegations of killings and human rights abuses.
The US-based Rapaport Diamond Trading Network said that
any of its 10,000 members offering tainted Zimbabwean diamonds
also will have their names published.
Last week, Zimbabwe held its first auction of some
900,000 carats of diamonds, ending a nine-month ban. The
Kimberley Process approved stones from two mines that monitors
said were operating at "minimum" international standards.
The Rapaport Diamond Trading Network, though, said that
did not guarantee the stones "free of human rights
Rapaport said respected human rights groups have
documented severe human rights abuses at the diamond fields
near the eastern border city of Mutare since their discovery
in 2006. Those include the killing of at least 214 allegedly
illegal miners by the military and "rampant abuses of forced
labour, child labour, beatings, smuggling and corruption."
The Zimbabwe Ministry of Mines accuses human rights
groups of "peddling falsehoods" over alleged violations in the
eastern Chiadzwa and Marange districts that were sealed off by
police and the military.
The ministry said successful world sales would benefit
the embattled nation and anger Western opponents of longtime
ruler President Robert Mugabe.
Robert Mhlanga, head of diamond mining holding company
working alongside the government, told The Associated Press
today that offers were made at the first auction August 11 for
all 900,000 carats cleared for sale by the Kimberley Process.
Deals with some of the international buyers were
completed and buyers left Harare in possession of batches of
diamonds. Other deals were still being processed, he said.
A second auction is scheduled in September. Mhlanga said
values of the diamonds were still being tallied.