Don’t Buy Marange Diamonds, KP Chair Warns

Kimberley Process participants remain banned from trading diamonds from the Marange region of Zimbabwe, organization officials warned today.

The notice, issued by the office of KP chairman Boaz Hirsch, comes amid news that the KP monitor for Marange, Abbey Chikane, was certifying diamonds without the organization’s approval.  However, it is not clear whether those diamonds have actually left Zimbabwe at this time.

Marange diamonds remain banned by the KP under a Joint Work plan negotiated last November. In an agreement reached in July, the country was allowed to export two shipments of gems, but a recent Plenary in Jerusalem ended without an agreement on further exports.

“Participants [are asked] to notify the [Working Group of Monitoring] chair in the event of receipt of an irregular shipment of Marange diamonds, until new arrangements are agreed,” the letter said.  “It is of utmost importance that all Participants remain vigilant and ensure that the terms of the Joint Work Plan and Saint Petersburg agreement are respected.”

The letter noted that negotiations with Zimbabwe are ongoing, and added, “I am confident that we will find a consensual way forward which recognizes the progress made by Zimbabwe in terms of compliance with KP requirements, whilst offering sufficient reassurance that there would continue to be progress in all areas under the Joint Work Plan, so that we can eventually bring the whole of Marange – and indeed Zimbabwe as a Participant – into full KP compliance.”

NGO Global Witness has asked diamond industry organizations to issue a similar statement.