During the Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference Diamond Symposium, October 7-8, 2020, participants heard first-hand testimony about sexual assaults on women, including minors, by the security forces of the Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC), owner and operator of the Marange Diamond Mines.
Requests for the ZCDC and government of Zimbabwe to investigate and end these abuses have gone unanswered.
We invited members and affiliates of the international jewelry industry, to sign the following letter. As the organizations responsible for the trade of diamonds, we have a moral obligation to speak out against human rights abuses, and to use our shared economic influence to demand change.
Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (Pvt) Ltd
RE: A prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into alleged abuses by ZCDC security guards
On behalf of the undersigned concerned individuals we write to bring to the attention of your Company information we have received concerning serious abuses allegedly committed security guards of your company during the course of this year, particularly involving the abuse of young girls from the Chiadzwa community.
For example, we received information that in August 2020, a security guard working for Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Company (ZCDC) allegedly forced three girls into sexual acts before threatening to harm them if they reported the case. We also received disturbing reports of sexual abuse of young girls that allegedly took place in March and in February 2020 involving ZCDC security guards with the victims afraid to report the cases for fear of retribution.
We believe these are very serious allegations that require prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations by your company and the implementation of clear measures to ensure the protection of young girls and the appropriate punishment by law of those who abuses them. We are concerned that failure to take public action to investigate these cases and to reassure the Chiadzwa community will be a major violation of the rights of the girl-child.
In light of these serious allegations of human rights abuses against girls from the Chiadzwa community involving ZCDC security guards, and in line with your company’s obligations under international law, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Requirements, and Zimbabwean law to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights, we are urging you to:
Conduct a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation into the alleged abuses involving young girls by ZCDC security guards and ensure that those found to be responsible are brought to justice;
Publicly share updates on the investigation and its outcome with the Chiadzwa community; and
Publicly share with the Chiadzwa community a clear complaints procedure for community members whose rights are violated by ZCDC security guards.
We look forward to your substantive response to our letter.