Press Release / Feb. 13, 2001

Has the diamond industry forgotten its vows? Why has the diamond industry gone quiet on self-regulation of conflict diamonds?

Global Witness is calling on the diamond industry to make a Valentine’s Day pledge to put in place a system of self-regulation across the industry that can be independently monitored and checked, to prevent the trade in conflict diamonds.

“We are looking for a comprehensive and verifiable system of self-regulation and not for statements of concern and piecemeal action by different diamond bourses and industry bodies,” said Alex Yearsley, Campaigner, “this is vital if consumers are to have confidence that diamonds can be conflict free.”

The diamond industry has taken the positive step of setting up the World Diamond Council and it is working with governments as part of the inter-governmental Kimberley process which is designing a series of official regulatory measures to control the export and import of diamonds. But people should be clear this is a government led process and that the trade has so far failed to come up with a self-regulatory system that would work in tandem with these official regulations.

As the recent reports of the UN panels on Sierra Leone and Angola have shown, conflict diamonds remain an urgent problem, are still being sold and are still funding wars ravaging west and central Africa. The diamond trade has to take responsibility upon itself to put its own house in order.

“We are calling for an Industry Three Step Programme: to develop a meaningful system of self-regulation; to continue to work with governments on the Kimberly process and to continue to work on US legislation.” Said Alex Yearsley.