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TW-International: India imports $135 million Zimbabwean “blood diamonds.”
In a major change of direction from earlier policy, India has now OK’ed the import of diamonds from Zimbabwe.
The diamonds, mined in Zimbabwe’s Marange fields in 2010, were purchased by Surat diamond dealers at an auction in November 2010, and shipped to Dubai, where they were held up for export following a decision by the Kimberly Process (KP), the body charged with ensuring “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds” are not able to reach the market and finance further human rights violations, to re-instate the ban against any trade in diamonds from Zimbabwe.
The UAE released the shipment of diamonds in late June with the approval of the KP’s Working Group on Monitoring.
Upon arrival in India, the diamonds were again held up pending final approval from the government.
Chandrakant Sanghavi, regional chairman of the Gems and Jewelry Export Promotion Council, told TW-International sources that since the final clearance of the stones, as many as 13 Surat diamond dealers have received parcels of rough product.
The influx of rough diamonds is expected to ease the pressure faced by the local diamond industry at a time of rocketing rough stone prices.
Previously India imposed a ban on the import of rough diamonds from the African nation, after ongoing reports of human rights at the Marange fields.
As a result of these reports of rampant human rights violations of the diamond mine workers for the past several years, India’s Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) passed a resolution not to import diamonds from the Marange diamond mines in Zimbabwe.
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