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Industry delegation meets top U.S. State Department officials on KP
The delegation wants the KP Joint Work Plan to be implemented
By: Diamond World News Service
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Jan 28 2010 1:36PM
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Reference: 4581  

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A meeting took place between a coalition of industry based associations and representatives with top U.S. State Department officials, with the agenda of wanting tough action by the Kimberley Process (KP) to implement a Joint Work Plan (JWP) that would bring Zimbabwe into full KP compliance. The meeting took place in Washington. It included participation of representatives from the Diamond Manufacturers and Importers of America (DMIA), Jewelers of America (JA), the Diamond Dealers Club of New York (DDC), the World Diamond Council (WDC), the United States Kimberley Process Authority (USKPA), the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) and the Jewelers Vigilance Committee (JVC), Martin Rapaport and retailer Brian Lieber via telephone, representatives from civil society including Global Witness, Human Rights Watch, World Vision, the Enough Project and others.

The Joint Work Plan initiated at the last meeting of the KP in Namibia, in order to address allegations of non-compliance and humanitarian rights violations by Zimbabwe in the Marange diamond producing area. The JWP also provides that diamond exports from the Marange area of Zimbabwe are to be fully examined for compliance by a KP designated monitor. No exports from that region are permitted until a KP designated monitor is in place.

At the Washington meeting, the industry also emphasised wanting reforms of the KP including establishing a permanent secretariat and changing decision making processes within the KP for better efficacy. The industry also urged the US State Department to increase consideration of enforcement measures by the KP of established instances of non-compliance.

“A strong KP is essential to a healthy diamond industry,” said Ronald Friedman, President of the DMIA. “It is so important that KP mechanisms are seen to be performing well and addressing challenges in an efficient and effective manner. Adding the retail perspective to the meeting, Matt Runci, President and CEO of JA, and Chairman of the Board of the Responsible Jewelry Council, said, “The retail sector is committed to a strong KP – but the strength of the process must be clear to the consuming public. Continuing allegations of human rights violations in diamond producing regions cannot be countenanced by the retail community”.

“The successful implementation of the JWP will ensure that Zimbabwe is addressing the allegations of human rights abuses and non-compliance regarding production in Marange,” said Cecilia Gardner, General Counsel of the WDC and President of the JVC. “The plan is robust, and requires specific steps with deadlines, for Zimbabwe to take to comply with their KP obligations.” Also, DDC President Moshe Mosbacher indicated that, “The diamond industry must continue to work to bring Zimbabwe into compliance with the Kimberley Process, since doing so would address both charges of human rights abuse as well as prevent smuggling from that country’s Marange area.”

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