Canada Concerned over Continued Detention of Zimbabwean Activist

(No. 200 - June 23, 2010 - 12:20 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing concern over the continued detention of Zimbabwean activist Farai Maguwu:

“As a member of the Kimberley Process Working Group on Monitoring, Canada joins the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme Chair, Boaz Hirsch, in expressing strong concern regarding the arrest and continued detention of civil society activist Farai Maguwu. Mr. Maguwu was arrested after meeting with the Kimberley Process Monitor to Zimbabwe, Abbey Chikane, on May 25, 2010.

“Credible reports indicate that Zimbabwean authorities have denied Mr. Maguwu legal representation during interrogation, contravening both domestic and international law; abducted him from remand for further interrogation; refused him both bail and needed medication; and shackled him in leg irons while he lay in a hospital bed.

“Canada condemns the conditions of Mr. Maguwu’s detention; they are evidence of a continued lack of respect for human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

“Canada calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate its respect for the Kimberley Process, of which Zimbabwe is a member. Certain Zimbabwean authorities appear to be committed to suppressing the evidence of illegal diamond activities in the Marange diamond fields, while working to intimidate and silence any who dare to speak out. Zimbabwe’s diamonds are a national resource. They should not benefit only a select few in positions of power; they should benefit all Zimbabweans. Adherence to Kimberley Process principles and procedures can help make this happen.

“Canada will continue to work closely with and support Mr. Hirsch’s efforts to improve the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process.”

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Melissa Lantsman
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874