London(ZimEye)The United Kingdom could easily be buying Zimbabwe’s diamonds, a new BBC documentary to be screened tonight investigates.
A retailer is quoted stating:
“…And even the supplier wouldn’t know (where the diamonds are coming from)…I could highly be buying a Zimbabwe diamond without knowing, absolutely” the London retailer is heard signalling in the documentary’s video trailer.
Panorama headed to Hatton Garden, the jewellery district in London, to see whether a ban on conflict diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange region is working.
Hilary Andersson spoke to the above retailer to ask whether the existing system, known as the Kimberley Process which requires participants to prove the origin of their diamonds, was robust enough.
The aim is to attempt to assure consumers that the gems they are purchasing are not financing war or human rights abuses.
Torture camp ‘discovered’
A torture camp run by Zimbabwe’s security forces is operating in the country’s rich Marange diamond fields, BBC Panorama also claims.
The programme contains confessions ‘from recent victims who told of severe beatings and sexual assault.’
The claims come as the European Union pushes to allow some banned diamonds from Zimbabwe back onto world markets.
An article on the BBC website stated:
The Zimbabwean government has not responded to the BBC’s findings.
In an internal document seen by the BBC, the EU said it was confident that two mines in the area now meet international standards and it wants diamonds from those areas to be immediately approved for export, which would partially lift a trade ban dating back to 2009.
The ban was imposed by the Kimberley Process (KP), the international organisation that polices diamonds, following reports of large-scale killings and abuse by Zimbabwe’s security forces in the Marange diamond fields.
The main torture camp uncovered by the programme is known locally as “Diamond Base”. Witnesses said it is a remote collection of military tents, with an outdoor razor wire enclosure where the prisoners are kept. Read More at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-14377215
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has in the past called for companies to compensate the victims of the Marange diamond fields who were displaced by the mining activities. However Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has said that compensation can only be possible once the diamonds are allowed onto the world markets.
The Panorama: Mugabe’s Blood Diamonds, is showing on BBC One, Monday, 8 August at 2030 BST and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.