Jewelry Industry Embargo On Zimbabwe’s Conflict Diamonds
Apparently Zimbabwe’s plan to sell off the conflict diamonds from their Marange diamond fields is simply not going to come through as long as the HRW (Human Rights Watch) has any say in the matter. The HRW specifically instructed the leading diamond jewelry providers in the world to keep their distance from any diamonds from Zimbabwe. Specifically, Arvind Ganesan, Director of the Business & Human Rights Division at HRW, released an official warning regarding a full on embargo of Zimbabwe diamonds due to their many violations of serious human rights conditions. According to Arvind Ganesan, Zimbabwean diamonds are conflict diamonds in every sense of the term, and as such the HRW is requesting that jewelry retailers and jewelry consumers boycott these diamonds until the human rights infringements reach their end. In fact, Arvind Ganesan wrote a letter asking as much from leaders in the diamond jewelry industry, such as Cartier, Tiffany’s, and Zale.
Arvind Ganesan has turned to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme as well as the World Diamond Council in an attempt to expand the current definition of blood diamonds to contain diamonds acquired by governments in conflict and not only diamonds by rebel groups. In his letter, the Director of the Human Rights Watch requested that major diamond jewelry retailers issue public statements regarding refusal to purchase Zimbabwean diamonds. Such acts on the parts of the major players in the diamond retail community will surely have some significant long-term effects on diamond production from the Murowa diamond mine, as well as the River Ranch diamond mine, which are thought to be channels for the sale of diamonds from the Marange fields in Zimbabwe.
In the letter, Arvind Ganesan also appeals to the powerful members of the diamond industry to use their influence on the Kimberley Process to ensure that Zimbabwe is fully suspended from the group up to the point when they actually meet basic human rights standards. As per reports from HRW, such human rights infringements as killing, smuggling, and child labor have been going on until just this October and there are no signs of any considerable changes since then. These diamonds have been smuggled to neighboring countries mixing with diamonds from other nations and basically causing a situation where conflict diamonds are traded worldwide.
Hence, it is up to the jewelry retailers to be responsible enough to make sure that they do not vend such conflict diamonds to their jewelry consumers. As diamond consumers are becoming increasingly knowledgeable about conflict diamonds and requesting certifications as to the origin of their diamonds, it was only a matter of time before Zimbabwean diamonds became too risky to be associated with.
The problem is that generally speaking, jewelry providers can’t just boycott their diamond jewelry items, but then again, nobody wants to be linked to conflict diamonds either. It looks like we’ll just have to wait and see how the major members of the diamond jewelry community intend to comply with the demands of the Human Rights Watch.