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The US authorities banned imports of tough diamonds from Zimbabwe earlier this month over considerations that pressured labour was getting used within the African nation’s mines.

Zimbabwe has dismissed the allegations. Secretary for Data Nick Mangwana says the US has no proof of this, and that Washington has been “misinformed or misled”.

The Marange mining area within the east of Zimbabwe is estimated to have one of many world’s richest diamond reserves and is a crucial income earner for a rustic in a dire financial straits.

Zimbabwe’s tough diamond exports

$US thousands and thousands

What’s the US accusation?

The US cites employment practices through which people searching for work within the mines bribe safety officers to permit them contained in the safe space.

As soon as inside, based on Brenda Smith of the US Customs and Border Company, employees are usually not permitted to go away, and those that resist are punished with bodily/sexual violence or arrest.

The US authorities says it’s “nicely documented”.

What’s the proof?

Entry for journalists and rights teams to those areas is very restricted, with particular authorisation required to realize entry.

A bunch that screens employment practices on the Marange diamond mines has collected testimonies of pressured labour practices.

The chairman of the Bocha Diamond Belief, Moses Mukwada, advised the BBC there had been circumstances of villagers being rounded up and compelled to work within the mines.

Different teams, nonetheless, are extra cautious.

The Centre for Pure Sources Governance (CNRG), an organisation that campaigns for rights in mining areas, says it has documented bodily violence towards miners, however would not have data that pressured labour is prevalent.

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“As an organisation, we’re not completely dismissing the problem [of forced labour], however we’ve got no data [from the US government] and we wish to know who’s forcing who,” says Simiso Mlevu, a spokesperson for CNRG.

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Picture caption

The military and personal safety guards management entry to the Marange diamond mines

This is not the primary time that allegations of human rights abuses have been directed on the Zimbabwe authorities’s operation within the Marange mines.

Rights teams have often referred to as for the diamonds to be labeled as “battle diamonds” to limit exports, and again in 2011 the BBC discovered proof of using extreme beatings and sexual assault within the space.

“The unhappy reality is that diamonds tainted by human rights abuses from Marange or elsewhere can nonetheless attain the worldwide diamond market simply,” the CNRG says.

It estimates that about 40 deaths happen yearly because of the ill-treatment of mineworkers.

Labour rights elsewhere in Zimbabwe

Human Rights Watch printed a report in 2018 saying that pressured labour was a problem within the nation’s tobacco farms.

The US authorities additionally launched a report final yr documenting youngster labour practices.

Nevertheless, Zimbabwe says it’s making efforts to sort out pressured labour and in 2019 ratified the UN’s Compelled Labour Conference, a dedication to eradicate the apply.

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