Do diamonds produced by the Government of Zimbabwe come under the category of “Conflict Diamonds” as defined by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) ? Farai Maguwu, the founding director of the Centre for Natural Resources Governance (CNRG) thinks that these diamonds do come under KPCS, and in support of his arguement he cites allegations of torture and violence against local artisanal miners, by the Government of Zimbabwe.
However, President of the World Diamond Council (WDC), Edward Asscher, thinks otherwise. In a blog post published last week, he points out that technically, Zimbabwe’s goods are not conflict diamonds. According to him this is because Kimberley Process defines conflict diamonds as rough stones that rebel movements use to finance wars against legitimate governments. Actions taken by a legitimate government, whether right or wrong, against its own citizens, who are arisanal miners, does not come under the purview of the Kimberley Process.
According to Edward Asscher, the WDC which represents the diamond industry at the Kimberley Process, is working with other stakeholders to update this important definition that has a bearing on the diamond industry. Such an update including important issues such as human rights violations, labour rights violations, bribery and corruption etc. would enable KP to address issues such as those raised by CNRG founder Farai Maguwu.
Edward Asscher states in his blog post, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is infortunately limited in scope. Unless that is expanded, it cannot be expected to be a panacea to other challenges afflicting artisanal miners, including human and labour rights violations, bribery and corruption etc.