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Zimbabwe: Diamonds

Volume 486: debated on Wednesday 21 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate has been made of the profits accrued from the illegal diamond trade in Zimbabwe in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proposals the Government has put forward to stop the trade. (246298)

There have been reports of an influx of thousands of illegal panners and dealers to the Marange/Chiadzwa diamond field to extract and export diamonds outside the Kimberley Process. There are no accurate data available on the value of such illicit diamond trading, but estimates are that it could run to millions of dollars.

Reports indicate that the military have brutally stamped down on mining activities in the area. Hundreds are reported to have been killed. The use of such extreme force indicates the lengths to which the regime will go to regain control of the diamond fields.

The UK, represented by the EU, is working with Kimberly Process partners and civil society groups to determine the most effective way of resolving the situation.