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Human Rights Watch Urges Major Jewelers to Boycott Zimbabwe Diamonds


Human Rights Watch says abuses continue in Marange in spite of intervention in recent months by the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme and promises by the Harare government to take steps to address such issues

Human Rights Watch has appealed to major jewelers internationally to refuse to sell diamonds from Zimbabwe, charging that human rights abuses are continuing in the Marange alluvial field of eastern Manicaland province.

The rights group said such diamonds are being extracted using forced labor by children as well as adults. It said human rights abuses continue in Marange in spite of intervention in recent months by the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme and government promises to move to address such issues.

Human Rights Watch sent a letter to well-known jewelers such as Tiffany, Zale, Cartier and others signed by Arvind Ganesan, head of the organization's business division charging that "by any reasonable assessment," diamonds coming from Marange qualify as "blood diamonds" tainted by human rights abuses.

The group said it is "publicly calling on retailers and interested consumers to boycott Zimbabwe diamonds unless and until the abuses that we uncovered come to an end," Ganesan said in the letter sent to the companies.

Human Rights Watch published a report in June alleging major rights abuses in the Marange fields by the Zimbabwean military, among others the killing of more than 200 people in the district by soldiers and the use of forced labor.

Farai Maguwu, director of the Center for Research and Development in Mutare, the capital of Manicaland province, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that not much has changed in Marange so Human Rights Watch is justified in calling for a boycott on Zimbabwean diamonds by major retailers.

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