Investigators of the Kimberly Process for international oversight of the diamond trade started meeting Tuesday with human rights activists, mine representatives and government officials in Harare before proceeding to the Marange district of eastern Manicaland province where Human Rights Watch has alleged grave rights abuses and pervasive corruption.
Human Rights Watch late last week issued a report saying Zimbabwe's armed forces have taken over Marange district and murdered more than 200 people to establish control of the diamond-rich zone. It said soldiers have also conscripted labor to work the mines.
Reached in Tel Aviv, Israel, World Diamond Council Chairman Eli Izhakoff said his organization has been monitoring the situation in Marange for some time and was concerned at the Human Rights Watch report alleging massive human rights violations in the district.
Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai, who met Tuesday with the Kimberly Process team, told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Harare faces challenges in trying to secure the Marange diamond fields, adding that the delegation will have full access.