Zim diamonds might be classified as ‘bloody’ – global watchdog warns; says Marange area effectively an open prison

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By Staff Reporter

THE Kimberly Process Coalition has called on Zimbabwean to investigate human rights abuses in Marange warning that alleged violations may result in diamonds from the country being classified as bloody.

This follows this week’s protest by Marange locals against the state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC).

The KP coalition said government should restore freedom of association and stop company security guards from terrorizing families as well as artisanal miners.

“De-list Marange from areas classified under Protected Places and Areas Act of Zimbabwe, Chapter 11:12,” the group said in a statement this week.

“Prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations in Marange, especially security guards of ZCDC who are allegedly committing abuses daily with impunity.

“We are cognizant that in February this year the Marange community petitioned parliament and to date they haven’t received feedback.

“In light of the foregoing, we find it extremely difficult to classify Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds as conflict free.”

According to Marange villagers, all visitors must seek permission from Mutare police while community members are required to produce identity documents, failure to which allegedly attracts detention and torture at a local military base.

Open prison

“This is a daily occurrence. In reality, the Marange community is an open prison where freedom of movement and association have been withdrawn by the Zimbabwe government,” said the KP coalition.

“This is in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Section 21 of African Charter on Human and People’s Rights and more importantly, this is in blatant violation of Sections 49, 51, 52, 56 and 58 of the Zimbabwe Constitutions.”

The organisation is also expecting government to ensure artisanal miners found on the wrong side of the law receive due process.

“The community is also demanding an end to torture as a means of punishing artisanal miners. Section 53 of the Zimbabwe constitution outlaws torture.

“The coalition has seen images of artisanal miners mauled by vicious ZCDC security dogs in Marange. We are appalled with several reports from artisanal miners saying they are first handcuffed by the security guards and thereafter dogs are set on them.

“Continued violence against the Marange community and artisanal miners is unacceptable.”

The lobby group agrees with the community that some of the revenue from the diamonds should be reinvested in improving infrastructure in the area.

Parliament is currently investigating allegations of looting diamonds from the Marange area.