KP in a Concealed PR: No Evidence of Human Rights Abuses, Army Out of MarangeSeptember 01, 10
Titled “Zimbabwe is On the Right Track,” the release that appeared on ISDE.co.il, listed findings by the recent Kimberley Process review mission to Zimbabwe. According to sources that asked to remain anonymous, mission members considered publishing a press release; however, a number of the mission members objected to the circulated draft and it was shelved.
According to the article, the size of the review mission allowed it to be divided into smaller teams and conduct more investigations. On August 10, for example, one team hired a small aircraft to hold an aerial inspection and guided a ground team to areas of interest.
Another team inspected suspected smuggling activities that allegedly took place in Manica, Mozambique and visited border check points as well as sorting facilities.
While the report did not include specific findings, it made a number of general observations. It noted progress on most issues covered in the Joint Work Plan (JWP) but less than expected progress in areas of legal policy and development of artisanal and small-scale mining.
Of most interest, the shelved release states that the review team did not find evidence of recent human rights abuses in the Marange diamond areas. However, NGOs expressed concerns about getting assistance in the relocation of people from the mining areas into new areas.
Another important point was a reported completion of the demilitarization of the concession areas. In the Marange area, apparently outside of the fenced concession areas, military presence was reduced from 1,400 soldiers a year ago to about 500 today, according to the team.
Further, community leaders and NGOs confirmed to the mission that the police is fully in charge of law and order and that the population’s personal security level has increased.
IDEX Online has learned that the PR also claimed a substantial decrease in illegal mining and smuggling.
A point of contention was the failure to submit a forensic audit of the country’s diamond stockpile that was due during the review mission’s visit in Harare.
Recently it became clear that the review team, headed by the Deputy Mines Minister of Liberia, A. Kapandel Fayiateam, is divided over report. This may explain why the team sought to make a public statement, yet was unable to agree on its contents.