Just as Fast Company published a special report about the murders and corruption in Zimbabwe's Marange Diamond Fields, the world's largest electronic diamond-trading network banned all mined diamonds from the region, citing severe human right violations.
"People were getting killed in the fields," says Rapaport Group Chairman Martin Rapaport, whose RapNet touts more than 4,100 members in 80 countries and lists at least $4 billion worth of diamonds. "We had to do something."
As Fast Company reported, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme—aglobal watchdog group created by the United Nations in 2002—was supposed to have removed all but 1% of these so-called "blood diamonds" from the market. But the truth, says Rapaport, is that it's "being used as a fig leaf" to cover up human rights abuses in the diamond sector, such as the killing of 214 miners.
In addition to banning Marange diamonds from his network, Rapaport is calling on the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA) to educate its members about human rights abuses and ban all trading of Marange diamonds.
"At some point, someone has to say, 'Stop,'" he says. "So we're doing it."
Click here to read our full report on the controversy, including several firsthand interviews with mining workers in Zimbabwe. We've also put together a slideshow of rare images from the Marange Fields.