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NGOs Warn It Is Becoming Difficult to Justify KP

Civil society says it is not in a rush to leave KP, "but might have to."
Jun 22, 2010 3:44 AM   By Deena Taylor, Avi Krawitz
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RAPAPORT... The nongovernmental arm of the Kimberley Process (KP) warned that it is questioning its participation in the scheme based on current issues with Zimbabwe.

“It's getting more and more difficult to explain the crisis in Zimbabwe's diamond sector. It's very hard to explain decisions that are made behind closed doors,” Annie Dunnebacke, a campaigner for the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Global Witness, told Rapaport News at the KP's intercessional meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday. “We're not in a rush to leave the KP, but we might have to.”

Dunnebacke’s comments came as Zimbabwe’s membership in the KP was being debated, with human rights groups intensifying their calls for stronger scrutiny of the country’s Marange diamond mine. Earlier in June, the KP's Zimbabwe monitor, Abbey Chikane, said he would recommend that Marange stones be cleared for exportation with KP certificates because, it alleged, they have “met the scheme’s minimum requirements.”

In an interview with Rapaport News to be published on Wednesday, Chikane explained that his mandate was not to deal with human rights issues at Marange, but to ensure that output from the mine met international standards set out by the KP.

In the run-up to the Tel Aviv meeting, the NGOs Global Witness, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) each published separate reports calling for Zimbabwe’s suspension from the KP, citing the ongoing human rights abuses surrounding the mine. Their frustrations have deepened with the ongoing detention of Farai Maguwu, the director of the Centre for Research and Development (CRD) in Zimbabwe.

The groups did not say what the consequences would be if their expectations regarding Zimbabwe were not met. Chikane said he was concerned that if the NGOs withdrew from the scheme, that could spell the end of the KP.

A Strong Proponent of KP

In her speech at the meeting, Dunnebacke stressed that civil society has always been a strong proponent of the KP.

“In our daily work, we do a lot more communicating about the KP, why we think it’s important, why we maintain our commitment to it and invest so much in building it,” she said. “We have always been at the forefront of efforts to explain why the KP matters so much.

“In recent months, it has become more and more challenging to justify to the world why we still support it,” Dunnebacke added.

While the Zimbabwe issue has taken center stage at the meeting, many are hoping that it won’t dominate the agenda.

"My personal hope is that the meeting won't be overshadowed by Zimbabwe, that some focus can put on all the good things being done in KP," said one senior KP delegate who requested to remain anonymous.

Israel’s Goals

Israel’s KP chairman, Boaz Hirsch, discussed the work outside the Zimbabwe issue that his office has undertaken since assuming the chairmanship in January. He explained that Israel has focused on three core issues during its year at the KP helm: creating an annual road map that will build on KP enforcement capacities, enabling stronger administrative capabilities through the creation of an office for administration and support and forming a working group on trade facilitation.

However, Hirsch noted that much of this week’s meeting would be dedicated to the implementation of the KP’s joint work plan for Zimbabwe.

“In this regard, difficult decisions await us that will affect the international diamond community in all its various facets,” he said. “The KP standards must and will be upheld. At the same time, consideration will be given to the uniqueness and special needs of each participant and efforts will not be spared in order to find the ways and means to accommodate it.”

Pictured above: Israel's minister of Industry Trade and Labor, Benjamin Ben Eliezer (right), meets Eli Izhakoff (left), the president of the World Diamond Council (WDC) at the opening of the KP's intersessional meeting in Tel Aviv on Monday. 
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Tags: Avi Krawitz, Abbey Chikane, Deena Taylor, Avi Krawitz , Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, Israel, Kimberley Process, Marange Fields, NGO, Partnership Africa Canada (PAC), World Diamond Council, Zimbabwe
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kp fast
Jun 23, 2010 12:48AM    By rabbi daniel
pitty for your effort the whole systhem is rotten have a good meal
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