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Wednesday, 20 February 2013
immediate release: 18
welcomes EU decision to maintain sanctions against Zimbabwean diamond sector
Witness today welcomed news that EU foreign ministers have agreed to maintain
restrictive measures against state-owned Zimbabwean diamond mining
company, ZMDC, but warned that gaps in the sanctions list could mean Mugabe’s
forces still receive off-budget revenues from diamond sales.
London-based campaigning group last year published detailed evidence indicating
that revenues from joint-venture diamond mining companies, of which ZMDC is the
Zimbabwean partner, are providing off-budget financing to ZANU-PF controlled
security forces with a history of committing electoral violence.
news that sanctions against ZMDC will be maintained,” said Global Witness
diamonds campaigner, Emily Armistead. “Global Witness’ investigations point to
a serious risk that diamond revenues could be used to fund violence in this
year’s election. Maintaining sanctions against ZMDC will limit that flow of
cash. However, the EU could have gone further to prevent diamond revenues
funding ZANU-PF security forces. In particular, we are
concerned that Zimbabwe’s largest diamond company, Anjin, is part-owned by the
military but is not covered by restrictive measures.”
over the sanctions were rumoured to have been especially heated with Belgium
leading the call for measures against the ZMDC to be dropped. Last week Global
Witness accused Belgium of favouring the interests of its diamond traders over
Witness’ research has revealed links between joint-venture diamond mining companies
in the Marange region of Zimbabwe and military, police and intelligence
organisations loyal to Mugabe. When elections last took place in 2008, these
same groups were involved in attacks against the opposition, reportedly killing
over 200 people and torturing thousands.
by ministers to maintain sanctions against Zimbabwe’s diamond mining sector
sends a clear signal to European diamond trading companies that they must
source diamonds responsibly. However, weak industry self-regulation all along
the diamond pipeline means that Marange diamonds may still find their way onto
diamond companies must carry out checks on their supply chains to make sure
their purchases are not fuelling risks of human rights violations in Zimbabwe.
Member states should enforce the restrictive measures and ensure they are
applied to polished diamonds entering the EU,” continued Armistead.