Source: Global Witness
8 June 2010 - State-sponsored violence and human rights abuses are still taking place in the diamond fields of eastern Zimbabwe, in contrast to claims made in a leaked report from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme monitor, said Global Witness today.
Global Witness has serious concerns about the credibility of the report, which recommends that Zimbabwe be allowed to resume diamond exports from the controversial Marange area.
The Kimberley Process (KP) was set up in 2003 to eradicate the trade in blood diamonds. Last year, KP officials visited Zimbabwe and confirmed reports of killings carried out by state security agents as well as diamond smuggling rackets run by the military.
A supervised export mechanism for diamonds from Marange was put in place in November 2009, as part of a work plan agreed between KP and Zimbabwe to address the country's non-compliance with the scheme's standards. The report by the South African KP monitor, Abbey Chikane, says that Zimbabwe has now met the KP's minimum requirements.
"We are extremely concerned by the monitor's report, which directly contradicts information recently obtained by researchers and observers on the ground", said Elly Harrowell of Global Witness. "There is no sign that state-sponsored brutality in the diamond fields has stopped or that the widespread smuggling of diamonds from Marange into neighbouring countries has been curbed. Lifting the ban on Marange exports would mean letting blood diamonds onto international markets."
The report follows the arrest by Zimbabwean police on 3 June 2010 of Farai Maguwu, head of the Marange-based Centre for Research and Development (CRD), after a meeting with the KP monitor. CRD has regularly provided information about ongoing abuses in Marange to the Kimberley Process. The fate of Maguwu, who was forced to turn himself in to police after his office and home were raided and members of his family arrested, raises concerns about the way in which the monitor went about his work in Zimbabwe.
"Human rights organisations in Zimbabwe are regularly harassed by the authorities. Chikane had been warned of the risks involved in meeting Maguwu while accompanied by Zimbabwean government minders and intelligence agents, yet he neglected to take the necessary precautions. This raises serious doubts about his suitability for the role of KP monitor," said Harrowell.
Chikane's luggage was also broken into by the intelligence forces and key documents stolen, one of which was later published in the state-owned Herald newspaper.
"The monitoring arrangement for Marange should be suspended immediately and no exports permitted until the Zimbabwean government can give credible assurances that people providing information to the Kimberley Process will not be persecuted, and that the scheme's monitor will not be spied on by security agents," said Harrowell. "Zimbabwean authorities must stop all violence in the diamond fields and ensure that members of the military are not illegally involved in exploitation or marketing of diamonds. This is a non-negotiable condition for any resumption of trade."
Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan are currently engaged in vital talks over the dispute relating to the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam on the Nile River. While non-African actors are increasingly present in the negotiations, the African Union (AU) is playing a marginal role.
Climate change was more central than ever at this year’s Munich Security Conference (MSC), the leading international forum for senior military, security and foreign policy leaders. The release of the inaugural “World Climate and Security Report 2020” (WCSR 2020) by the Expert Group of the International Military Council on Climate and Security (IMCCS) should help policymakers take effective action.
The mission of the Munich Security Conference is to “address the world’s most pressing security concerns”. These days, that means climate security: climate change is the ultimate threat multiplier, and anyone discussing food security, political instability, migration, or competition over resources should be aware of the climate change pressures that are so often at the root of security problems.
The European Green Deal has made the environment and climate change the focus of EU action. Indeed, climate change impacts are already increasing the pressure on states and societies; however, it is not yet clear how the EU can engage on climate security and environmental peacemaking. In this light, and in the run-up to the German EU Council Presidency, adelphi and its partners are organising a roundtable series on “Climate, environment, peace: Priorities for EU external action in the decade ahead”.