Press Release / Jan. 29, 2003

Global Witness Welcomes Passage of UN Security Council Resolution Endorsing the Kimberley Process

But More Action Needed to Eliminate Trade in Conflict Diamonds

Global Witness applauds the UN Security Council for passing a Security Council Resolution under Chapter VI of the UN Charter (i) strongly supporting the Kimberley Process, the international diamond certification scheme to stop the trade in conflict diamonds.(ii) The Resolution expresses “deep concern” about the role diamonds play in fuelling conflicts, encourages the widest participation of Member States in the scheme, and urges participants in the Kimberley Process to resolve outstanding issues.

“This resolution sends a strong message to the international community about the importance of the Kimberley Process in eliminating conflict diamonds” said Corinna Gilfillan, Campaigner with Global Witness. “Governments must act now to effectively implement the Kimberley Process and to address the agreement’s weaknesses so that diamonds no longer fund conflict and terrorism.”

The Kimberley Process was officially launched on 1st January 2003: currently sixty four governments are participating in the scheme, including China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Under this agreement, the majority of the diamond producing and trading countries are establishing national diamond control systems to stop conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond trade. Currently, the Kimberley Process is in a transitional stage of implementation and will come into full force on 1st February 2003. Once this happens, participants will not be allowed to trade in diamonds with non-participants.

The resolution passed by the Security Council “strongly supports the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, as well as the ongoing process to refine and implement the regime” and “strongly encourages the participants to further resolve outstanding issues.” Several countries,
including the United States, have still not passed the laws and regulations needed to establish national diamond export/import control regimes. Another unresolved issue is the lack of a regular, independent monitoring mechanism within the Kimberley Process to make sure the national
diamond control systems are effective.

“We urge governments to meet the first crucial deadline of the Kimberley Process by putting tough national laws and regulations in place no later than 1st February,” said Gilfillan. “In order for this agreement to be successful, governments must also address a serious outstanding issue: the need for a regular, independent monitoring mechanism to ensure that the scheme works and is not open to abuse.”

Editor’s Notes

(ii) Resolutions under Chapter VI of the UN Charter are recommendations rather than being legally binding, as under Chapter VII.

(ii) The Kimberley Process is an international certification scheme aimed at stemming the trade in conflict diamonds, which are used to fuel conflicts and finance terrorist activities. Diamonds have been used in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to finance destructive civil wars, in which about 3,700,000 people have died.