Maguwu Urges Greater Ethical Awareness Among Jewelers

140 95 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… Zimbabwean human rights activist Farai Maguwu has urged jewelers and consumers to ‎be vigilant to verify the source of their diamond purchases. Maguwu endorsed the Rapaport ‎Group’s ethical pledge that was launched this week.   ‎

‎“We are fully behind the ethical jewelry campaign to make sure that the international ‎jewelry community is aware of where their diamonds are coming from,” Maguwu told the ‎Rapaport Las Vegas Conference. ‎

Rapaport Group honored Maguwu with an award recognizing his work in advocating ‎human rights in Zimbabwe. Martin Rapaport, the chairman of the Rapaport Group, ‎acknowledged the extent to which Maguwu has risked his life to protect the lives, ‎freedom and human rights of diamond diggers at Zimbabwe’s  Marange mines. ‎

Rapaport launched its ethical pledge at the conference urging members of the diamond ‎and jewelry trade to insist on written assurances in their purchases. The pledge would ensure that sellers have ‎investigated their sources, and that the products offered are free of human rights ‎violations, significant environmental damage, illegal activities, or sanctions by U.S. or ‎E.U. governments.‎

Such sourcing would exclude Zimbabwe’s Marange fields, where the mines are part ‎owned by Zimbabwean government agencies, which are sanctioned in the U.S. and E.U.‎

Maguwu noted that while the struggle to end human rights violations at Marange is being ‎won, problems associated with Marange diamonds are far from over. He explained that ‎the biggest challenge currently is to ensure that revenue from  Marange ‎production goes to the treasury and is used to benefit  Zimbabwe’s people. ‎

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, a senior member of the Movement for Democratic Change ‎‎(MDC), which is in a coalition government with Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, has ‎reported that not all funds from the country’s diamond exports are being received by the ‎treasury.‎

Maguwu outlined concerns that funds are being channeled to Mugabe and his military ‎personnel, and may be used to fund Mugabe’s prospective presidential campaign. While ‎Mugabe has not set a date for elections, reports indicate he is hoping to do so before the end of the year. Previous campaigns have been marred by violence and ‎intimidation. ‎

Maguwu cautioned that diamond revenues may be contributing to people who are using ‎the funds to cling to power, and to human rights violations elsewhere in the country.‎

Zimbabwe this week participated in the Kimberley Process intersessional meeting in ‎Washington DC.

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