Kimberley Craziness

If this report is accurate, the current Kimberley Process meeting in Namibia is certainly a strange one …

… the NGOs as well as the Kimberley Process review mission, came under attack by [Zimbabwe mines minster Mines Minister Obert] Mpofu on Tuesday, where he called them ‘deranged and requiring psychological examination’ … It is understood that Mpofu was also snubbed by a noted Greenpeace activist who the minister co chaired a panel discussion with. Our source explained that the Greenpeace official refused to shake Mpofu’s hand, saying he “would not shake hands with dishonest people.”

On a brighter note, a speech to the Plenary by World Diamond Council chairman Eli Izhakoff (presented by De Beers’ Andy Bone) endorses some of the obvious reforms to Process, so we don’t get situations like the current embarrassing deadlock over Zimbabwe …

.. many of the challenges we face could be better addressed with a more streamline decision-making process and improved resources. …

There are several areas where reform is required. Chief amongst them are:

• The adoption of two thirds majority voting amongst participant governments to replace the present system of [100%] consensus.

• The deployment of a professional team to oversee the running of the Kimberley Process and assist the Chair with logistics, communication and research.

By the way, I am sympathetic to those who say that Kimberley isn’t a human rights organization.  But with Zimbabwe, we are dealing with a very specific case of alleged mass murder, directly related to diamond exploration. There  is also significant evidence that Zimbabwe’s diamond industry is non-complaint with Kimberley regardless.

Remember, there used to be people in the trade who argued that “conflict diamonds” wasn’t our business either.  I don’t think many people can watch reports about atrocities in the Marange diamond fields – including this new one on South African TV– and be proud of having those diamonds in their showcases.

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JCK News Director