Kimberley Process members may be regretting their decision in June to allow Zimbabwe to export diamonds, with a new BBC documentary showing security forces beating and raping prisoners at two camps in the Marange diamond fields.
The New York Times reported on the release Monday of the documentary “Panorama”, which said the camps held workers recruited by the police and the military to diamonds for them, and then demand a large share of the profits:
“According to the report, a released prisoner who was not named said guards at the camps were beating prisoners three times a day, with 40 lashes at a time. Dogs were loosed to bite shackled inmates, and imprisoned women were frequently raped, the program said.”
In June, Zimbabwe was given the go-ahead to sell diamonds from the Marange fields in the eastern part of the country, despite objections from Canada, the US and the European Union, who insist that human rights abuses are still endemic.
MINING.com reported on July 29 on Zimbabwe’s finance minister Tendai Biti saying the reality of Zimbabwe’s situation is that there is no connection between Zimbabwe’s income from diamonds, its output and international prices, adding the country’s resources are in danger of turning into a curse rather than a blessing.
The website Next reported on August 8 that President Robert Mugabe would punish firms from Western states that have slapped sanctions on senior officials in his ZANU-PF party, warning that global miners including Rio Tinto could be hit.
Complaining that party members have difficulties accessing international finance due to sanctions imposed by Western countries for suspected human rights abuses and electoral fraud, Mugabe said “We will have to discriminate against countries that have imposed sanctions against us,” an allusion to previous threats of boycotts against Western countries that backed sanctions.