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DiamondGeezer implements ban on diamonds from Zimbabwe
Nov '09
DiamondGeezer, a leading online fine diamond jeweller has implemented an immediate trading ban on all diamonds from Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields due to severe human rights violations. The ban does not apply to all diamonds from Zimbabwe only those from the Marange area. Severe human rights violations have taken place in the diamond fields of Marange, Zimbabwe and the DiamondGeezer board of directors has passed a resolution banning the trade or use of any Marange diamonds.

No Blood DiamondsZimbabwe is home to 11.9 million people and accounts for a tiny and estimated 0.4 percent of global diamond production. This once thriving landlocked African country has become increasingly dependent on diamond exports to support its collapsed economy. Partnership Africa Canada, a leading regional NGO has reported that Zimbabwe's diamond industry is out of control. 'The government has expropriated diamond lands and companies without due process and awarded the prizes to ZANU-PF supporters and to the military. It has used brute force to clear the diamond fields…murdering hundreds of people in the process. Increasing military control in almost all of the diamond mines, and over the Ministry suggests that a new conflict scenario may be developing.'

Zimbabwe's ninth largest export, diamond exports are valued at 33 million U.S dollars a year. In recent years there is a 1.33 million carats of diamonds shortfall between what the country has mined and what the country has exported. Valued at $150 million, the general belief and assumption is that they have been illegally smuggled out of the country.

Until 2006, most diamonds in mineral rich Zimbabwe were an 'accidental find'. The discovery of the Marange diamond fields in 2006, however, created a crazy, desperate diamond rush, as starving and impoverished miners who were desperately seeking relief from the country's ongoing humanitarian crises. Not surprisingly a thriving black market sprang-up with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 illegal miners working the land and illegally selling their diamond finds to dealers outside the country. By 2008, the Zimbabwean government, led by lifelong dictator, Robert Mugabe, decided to crackdown on the illicit trade and thus stop the flow of revenue leaving the country.

The government offensive to remove the illegal miners was extremely brutal, swift and bloody. Credible accounts have documented the 'army and police using extreme force, including two helicopters, attack dogs and AK-47's against illegal miners' as reported the NY Times under the headline 'Africa's Diamond Trade under Scrutiny' Nov. 3, 2009. The military successfully seized control of the mines and murdered hundreds of miners in the process.

Having taken control, rather than safeguard the fields from illegal mining, the military, backed by the government is now complicit in mining the fields with forced labour from the local villages. The military is running fullyoperational diamond smuggling syndicates and Mugabe has rewarded them by increasing their presence in the area, rather than demilitarising it as the government once claimed.

No one should approve or encourage this exploitation, it is so easily avoided. Simply ensure that the diamonds you buy this Christmas are purchased from a reputable, accreditated diamond jeweller and be aware and question any the source of any diamonds that seem to be too good to be true. DiamondGeezer and their diamond partners diligence and procedures ensures that their 'NO BLOOD DIAMONDS HERE' policy is strictly maintained.

Diamond Geezer

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