Last week Global Witness and other members of the NGO Civil Society Coalition walked out of the Kimberley Process meeting in Kinshasa in protest at the scheme’s failure to address human rights abuses associated with the diamond trade.
Global Witness was the first NGO to expose publicly the international trade in blood diamonds. We played a key role in establishing the Kimberley Process – the international mechanism for regulating the diamond trade – because we believed it would break, once and for all, the link between diamonds and human rights abuses.
We are no longer confident that the Kimberley Process is willing or able to achieve this goal, however. Over the past three years the scheme has repeatedly failed to hold the Government of Zimbabwe to its commitments to end violence, smuggling and illegal military involvement in its Marange diamond fields. It is clear from the Kimberley Process’ half-yearly meeting this week that participating governments and the diamond industry are not prepared to take a stand to defend the principles on which the KP was founded.
Governments now have a very narrow window of opportunity to turn this situation around, demonstrate their commitment to addressing these issues and prove that the KP has not become cynical window dressing exercise for a complacent diamond industry.
Founding Director, Global Witness