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Antwerp Refutes Global Witness’s Zimbabwe Claims

NGO alleged dealers had traded illicit diamonds in Belgium.
Sep 14, 2017 2:37 AM   By Rapaport News
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Belgium’s diamond industry has refuted allegations by non-profit organization Global Witness that illicit goods from Zimbabwe have been traded in Antwerp.

Dealers in Antwerp bought and sold diamonds from Zimbabwe that may have funded human-rights violations, Global Witness claimed in a report Monday. Trading in Zimbabwean diamonds was also likely to be in breach of European Union (EU) sanctions, the organization further alleged.

Global Witness’s claims were based on a statement by a Zimbabwean minister that had been dispelled, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) said in response to the report. It also argued that one of the companies that supplied the goods was not on the EU sanctions list.

The AWDC took several measures to ensure it could allow Zimbabwean goods onto the Antwerp market when the EU lifted sanctions on the country in 2013, the trade body’s CEO Ari Epstein said. These included an investigation into the companies involved in mining the diamonds. It also consulted with the EU and the Kimberley Process to check it could import the goods, the AWDC said.

Zimbabwe’s diamond trade has come under scrutiny after Global Witness’s report alleged that military and political elites in the country had exploited the sector and concealed its finances from public scrutiny.

Diamonds have failed to benefit the Zimbabwean people, instead funding their oppression by state security forces, according to the organization.
Tags: Antwerp, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, AWDC, Central Intelligence Organisation, cio, Global Witness, Marange, Rapaport News, Zimbabwe
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