Press Release / Dec. 21, 2001

Global Witness Briefing Document On Angola: Can Controls Work?

Global Witness releases a briefing document today examining the system of diamond controls currently being introduced to conflict torn Angola in an effort to bring regulation to the notoriously hard to control diamond industry and overcome the problem of conflict diamonds. The system of controls currently being implemented in Angola is largely in response to consistent pressure from Global Witness, the United Nations Monitoring Mechanism on Angolan Sanctions and in an effort to address the future implications of the Kimberley Process international certification system. It is hoped that these measures are a genuine effort to curb UNITA¹s diamond sales and rampant diamond smuggling from Angola.

Global Witness believes that if similar measures to those outlined in the report were implemented in all alluvial diamond producing countries then the problem of conflict and illicit diamonds could substantially be reduced. Global Witness is also urging the Kimberley Process to consider the recommendations contained in the briefing document and as a minimum to include them as essential requirements for the international certification system which, after missing its December 14th deadline, is to be finalised following a United Nations General Assembly Resolution and another meeting in Canada in March 2002. The international certification system, as it currently stands is crucially lacking in any language or measures that will ensure any independent verification requirements for countries wishing to join the system. The Kimberley Process has also failed to competently address the critical issue of how the system will be monitored for compliance and transgressions. These two essential elements of the system must be included if the system is to have any credibility with consumers or civil society.

OEFrom the evidence seen to date those introducing the new system of controls have decades of official mismanagement and corruption to contend with. The diamond industry should closely examine what is being done in Angola to address the issue of conflict and illicit diamonds and realise that there is now no excuse for inaction or complacency,¹ said Alex Yearsley, campaigner for Global Witness.