Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Zimbabwe

Delivered in Plenary - 7th April 2011

Mr President, the EU supports the Kimberley Process, which aims to eliminate African conflict diamonds – or so-called blood diamonds – from the global market. However, recent developments in Zimbabwe are worrying.

The Chairman of the Kimberley Process, Mr Mathieu Yamba from the Democratic Republic of Congo, has decided unilaterally, and without consultation, to allow the marketing of diamonds from Zimbabwe’s Marange mine. This mine, which was debated in the House last year, was seized by President Robert Mugabe and his cronies. Hundreds of people were dispossessed of their homes and there are reliable reports of his security forces torturing, raping, and even killing, local residents.

The sale of diamonds from the Marange mine will help Mugabe to further consolidate his tyrannical hold on Zimbabwe and, indeed, enrich his ZANU-PF thugs. I therefore urge the European Union, as a party to the Kimberley Process, to raise this scandal at the highest level and insist on the restoration of consensus-based decision-making in the Kimberley Process.

More generally, I have long been calling for a similar system, a certification, to cover other natural resources extracted in Africa in order to prevent brutal governments or guerrilla groups from selling minerals to fund arms purchases. I am pleased to be working alongside the London-based, internationally renowned, human rights NGO Global Witness in this endeavour, in which the US Administration is leading the way with the passing of the Dodd-Frank Act.