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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 4 August, 2020

Blood diamond 'torture camp' discovered in Zimbabwe

An investigation has revealed claims of systematic torture, beatings and rape at one Zimbabwe’s diamond mines.

Image: Abby via Creative Commons

ZIMBABWE’S SECURITY FORCES are running a torture camp in one of the country’s richest diamond regions – where people are held captive, made to work in extremely dangerous conditions, beaten and raped, a BBC Panorama investigation has revealed.

The controversial Marange diamond fields are among the most significant known sources of the precious stones in the world.

Witnesses told the BBC that the camp in question had been operating for at least three years, and that people held captive there are kept in an outdoor enclosure fenced-off by razor wire. Guards routinely set dogs on victims who have been restrained and also subject them to whippings, violent beatings and sexual abuse, witnesses told journalists.

Marange diamonds were banned in 2009 by the Kimberley Process (KP), an international certification system to regulate trade in rough diamonds.

In June, the chairman of the KP announced that the export ban on diamonds from two Marange mines was lifted, as they had met the minimum conditions set by the industry regulator, Reuters reports. The EU, however, refused to accept the decision.

Now, the EU is pushing for the partial lifting of the trade ban on diamonds from two mines in the area, on the condition that the situation continues to be closely monitored.

Panorama: Mugabe’s Blood Diamonds will be shown on BBC 1, Monday 8 August at 8.30pm (available thereafter on the BBC iPlayer).

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