KP Acts On Marange Torture Claims

KP chairman Mathieu Yamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) said they were interested in exchanging information with the BBC.

In a letter dated August 22, Yamba said the KP was also seeking clarifications from the government of Zimbabwe.

“The KP stands ready to use all relevant KP monitoring mechanisms and to fully engage in gathering information relevant to these allegations,” the KP boss said in the letter.

The KP is a United Nations endorsed body set up to halt the sale of diamonds from conflict areas where funds are used to support illegal operations.

BBC through its Panorama programme last month aired testimonies of victims who claimed that they were tortured and sexually assaulted at an army camp in the diamond mining area.

The Zimbabwean government dismissed the documentary saying it was British propaganda meant to stop the country from selling its diamonds on the international market.

Yamba was instrumental in pushing a KP resolution that allowed Zimbabwe to start exporting the Marange diamonds in June despite opposition from Western countries.

Revelations that the KP had sprung into action following the BBC torture claims coincided with a report released on Tuesday by the United States based Human Rights Watch alleging that human rights abuses were still going on in Marange.

Another report by Partnership Africa Canada accused several Zimbabwean financial institutions of facilitating sales of Marange “blood” diamonds.

But South African owned Standard Bank dismissed the allegations.

“Standard Bank refutes the allegation by international human rights group Partnership Africa Canada that it or its affiliates own shares in Zimbabwean banks that have ties to the Marange diamond field,” the bank said in a statement.

“This allegation is unfounded and based on a misunderstanding of the fiduciary between relationship between Stanbic Nominees and its clients.”

Zimbabwe has battled to have the Marange diamonds sold openly on the international market with little success because of the alleged human rights violations.