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Rapaport Group Calls on Traders to Shun Zimbabwe's Marange Diamonds


The Rapaport Group of diamond traders and cutters issued a statement saying it does not agree with a recent Kimberley Process decision approving the sale of Marange diamonds into Western markets

The Rapaport Group of international diamond trading firms says it is launching a new campaign urging a boycott of diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange field.

The group issued a statement saying it does not agree with a recent Kimberley Process decision approving the sale of Marange diamonds into Western markets.

The statement noted “persistent reports of human rights violations related to Marange diamonds. It said Marange diamonds remain subject to US and EU sanctions.

The group said it believes mixing Marange diamonds with others and allowing their sale into US and other Western markets without disclosure is unethical and illegal, and it is demanding that firms selling Marange diamonds do so with full disclosure.

"The funds generated from the sale of these diamonds are not properly accounted for. It is likely that they will be used to fund human rights violations in Zimbabwe," it said.

"The Rapaport Group calls on all ethical members of the diamond trade to cease and desist from the trading of Marange diamonds. In the event that firms insist on buying and producing them we demand that these Marange diamonds be separated from non-Marange diamonds so that they are not sold to US, EU or UK entities."

Elsewhere, De Beers spokesman Andrew Bone told VOA that the conglomerate will not handle any Marange diamonds at all. De Beers recently announced that Forevermark, its retail diamond arm, would not sell any diamonds from the Marange field.

Commenting, Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Tiseke Kasambala said De Beers and Rapaport are right to steer clear of Marange diamonds given outstanding issues of human rights and transparency in the distribution of diamonds from the field.

Regional Coordinator Dewa Mavhinga of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said that until the Zimbabwean military totally pulls out of the Marange field, it will be difficult to promote trade in such diamonds as abuses continue to be recorded.

But Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu dismissed the Rapaport campaign saying it will not affect the international sale of diamonds from the Marange field.

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