Human rights violations and illegal exports of diamonds from the Marange field in eastern Zimbabwe continue despite government assertions that Harare has moved to comply with Kimberly Process recommendations to demilitarize and reform operations there, a think tank near the zone said Wednesday.
The Center for Research and Development in the Manicaland capital of Mutare said soldiers and youth militia in the pay of Mbada Diamonds and Canadiles Investments have been beating and torturing people indiscriminately and raping women in the tightly controlled alluvial diamond field.
A report by the think tank said employees of these companies, which it says were formed by senior government and army officials to exploit diamond deposits in Marange district, are mistreating and underpaying workers.
The office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently stepped in to halt an unauthorized auction of diamonds organized by Mbada Diamonds, whose chairman is former air marshal Robert Mhlanga.
Center for Research and Development Executive Director Farai Maguwu told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that illegal mining in Marange, also referred to as Chiadzwa, is costing the Zimbabwean state millions.