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updated: 8/30/2011 7:31 AM

Banks urged to stop Zimbabwe 'blood diamond' sales

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Associated Press

JOHANNESBURG -- Human rights groups are calling on foreign financial institutions vested in Zimbabwean banks to stop enabling the sale of so-called "blood diamonds."

Partnership Africa Canada identified three Zimbabwean banks involved in the sales. All have major foreign banks as shareholders, including Britain's Barclays and South Africa's Standard Bank.

Research director Alan Martin said Tuesday: "These banks subscribe to a higher ethical bar than those who are trafficking these dirty diamonds" from Zimbabwe's Marange diamond field.

Marange is tainted by allegations of killings, torture and forced labor.

Martin says BancABC, Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe and Premier Banking Group are "participating in diamond-related violence" and risk violating international sanctions.