Press Release, 15 November 2005
Kimberley Process[i] Falls Short in Combating Conflict Diamonds
Weak government controls are failing to stop diamonds from fuelling conflict, according to a new report by Global Witness.[ii] The report, ‘Making it Work: Why the Kimberley Process Must Do More to Stop Conflict Diamonds’,[iii] targets the annual meeting of the Kimberley Process Plenary starting today in Moscow.[iv]
The report shows how:
· Diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire are being mined in rebel-held areas and are then smuggled through neighbouring countries to international markets;
· Liberian diamonds, although subject to UN sanctions, are being certified by the Kimberley Process and exported from neighbouring countries;
· Weak regulation of diamond cutting and polishing factories leaves centres vulnerable to the trade in conflict diamonds.
Despite considerable achievements, both governments and the diamond industry must share the blame for flaws in the implementation of the Kimberley Process. Controls in the diamond trade from mining to polishing are still inadequate and poorly enforced due to the lack of effective monitoring, capacity and political will.[v] Some members of the diamond industry continue to trade in conflict diamonds.
“Despite repeated commitments by the diamond industry to combat conflict diamonds, some of its members still evade Kimberley Process controls while the rest turn a blind eye,” said Corinna Gilfillan of Global Witness.
Global Witness is calling on the Kimberley Process Plenary meeting in Moscow to take immediate action to halt the trade in conflict diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire. All participants must have strong and effectively enforced internal systems of controls. Governments and the diamond industry must do more to ensure that a Kimberley Process certificate assures that diamonds are conflict-free.
“The Kimberley Process has taken real steps to stop the trade in conflict diamonds, but the problem has not been solved,” said Susie Sanders of Global Witness. “Governments must audit all sectors of the diamond trade and take credible action against members of the diamond industry that are known to trade in conflict diamonds. In addition, the United Nations Security Council should place sanctions on diamonds from Cote d’Ivoire.”
Please contact Alex Yearsley or Harrison Mitchell in London on +44 (0) 207 561 6395 or +44 7773 812901.
[i] The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (Kimberley Process) is an international diamond certification scheme aimed at preventing the trade in conflict diamonds. Launched in January 2003, the scheme requires governments and the diamond industry to implement import/export control regimes and internal systems of controls on rough diamonds. The Kimberley Process was negotiated by governments, civil society organisations and the diamond trade, in response to civil society campaigning against the trade in conflict diamonds.
[ii] Global Witness is an investigative non-governmental organisation that focuses on the links between natural resource exploitation and conflict and was co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize. For more information on conflict diamonds, see other Global Witness reports and briefing documents, available at www.globalwitness.org
[iii] Full report available on front page of www.globalwitness.org
[iv] The Kimberley Process is holding its annual plenary meeting from 15-17 November 2005 in Moscow, Russia.
[v] The Kimberley Process requires a system of internal controls to ensure that diamonds being imported and exported are conflict-free. However, each participant decides for itself the nature of the systems it puts in place.
Press Release, 15 November 2005