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Human Rights Groups Lobby Europe Over Zimbabwe Diamond-Field Abuses


Zimbabwean and international non-governmental organizations are criss-crossing Europe at present drawing the attention of governments and civil society groups to human rights violations in the Marange diamond fields of eastern Manicaland province.

Representatives of the London-based Zimbabwe NGO Forum, the Center for Research and Development of Mutare, Zimbabwe, and Human Rights Watch have been meeting with foreign ministry officials and European NGOs to discuss whether Zimbabwean diamonds should be barred from world markets by the Kimberly Certification Process over the human rights violations which a Kimberly Process team recently documented on the spot.

Charges by Human Rights Watch that the Zimbabwean military units in control of the alluvial diamond field have murdered at least 200 people and forced others to mine diamonds were subsequently backed up by members of the Kimberly Process mission to the area.

The human rights delegation has visited Belgium and the Netherlands and will be meeting with various interlocutors this week in Switzerland and Germany, its members said.

World Diamond Council Chairman Eli Izhakoff told VOA that Harare has not yet responded to the final report issued by the Kimberly Process inspection team. He said it is hoped that Zimbabwe will have acted on the abuses before a meeting in Namibia in November.

Director Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, Zimbabwe, near the diamond field, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the human rights groups represented by the delegation are much concerned at how the diamond field Marange district, discovered in recent years, has caused conflict.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...

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