On 5th December 2011 Global Witness announced its departure from the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme established to stop the trade in blood diamonds. The Kimberley Process’s refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated.
Global Witness was among the first organisations to bring the world’s attention to the problem of conflict diamonds. Our report, A Rough Trade, released in 1998, exposed the role of diamonds in funding the civil war in Angola. This thrust the secretive practices of the global diamond industry into the spotlight for the first time. Growing international pressure from Global Witness and other organisations played a crucial role in forcing governments and the diamond industry take action to eliminate conflict diamonds from the international trade.
Our 2010 report, Return of the Blood Diamond, takes a detailed look at how Zimbabwe's Zanu PF political and military elite are seeking to capture the country's diamond wealth through a combination of state-sponsored violence and the legally questionable introduction of opaque join-venture companies.
Global Witness was co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its work combating conflict diamonds.
What are conflict diamonds?
Conflict diamonds – also known as blood diamonds – are diamonds that are used to fuel violent conflict and human rights abuses. They have funded brutal wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Côte d’Ivoire that have resulted in the death and displacement of millions of people. Diamonds have also been used by terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda to finance their activities and for money-laundering purposes.
Following several years of campaigning, and negotiations between diamond producing and trading countries, industry and civil society, the international diamond certification scheme known as the Kimberley Process was established in 2003.
Nearly ten years on, and despite intensive efforts by a coalition of NGOs including Global Witness, the scheme’s major flaws and loopholes have not been addressed and most of the governments that run the scheme continue to show no interest in reform.
Read a message about why Global Witness decided to leave the Kimberley Process from Founding Director Charmian Gooch.
The Kimberley Process 10 years on
- 23.06.2012 | Action urgently needed to stop off budget financing to Mugabe’s regime
- 20.06.2012 | Financing a parallel government?
- 13.02.2012 | Diamonds: A Good Deal for Zimbabwe?
- 05.12.2011 | Why we are leaving the Kimberley Process - A message from Global Witness Founding Director Charmian Gooch
- 05.12.2011 | Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable
- 02.11.2011 | Kimberley Process lets Zimbabwe off the hook (again)
- 23.06.2011 | Civil society expresses vote of no confidence in conflict diamond scheme
- 01.12.1998 | A Rough Trade
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