Zim criticises proposal to expand definition of conflict diamonds

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa has criticised calls by the western nations and the Civil Society Coalition to expand the definition of conflict diamonds in the diamond family.

Speaking during the closing of the 2017 intercessional meeting, Cde Chidhakwa said there are a number of organisations at international and regional levels to deal with conflict diamonds hence the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) should not entangle itself in bureaucratic issues which are being done elsewhere.

He proposed to maintain the existing definition which was supported by most African countries.

The reformation of the KPCS has been on the agenda for a number of years with stakeholders tabling various proposals ranging from extending the KP chair’s tenure to two years, setting up a permanent secretariat and the redefinition of conflict diamonds.

The proposed reforms took centre stage at the closing ceremony with western nations supported by the Civil Society Coalition proposing the expansion of the definition of conflict diamonds to include human rights abuse.

Other participants say the successes achieved by the diamond regime especially in eliminating conflict diamonds on the market should be commended hence there is no need to expand the conflict diamond definition.

Cde Chidhakwa intervened saying broadening the conflict diamond definition under the KPCS will be undermining the work being done by the United Nations and other regional organisations.

The expansion of conflict diamond definition to include human rights abuse is being pushed by the Civil Society Coalition which is working at the behest of western nations meant to stifle the trading of precious stones by member states especially African countries.

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