The diamond industry is failing to deliver on its promises to keep conflict diamonds out of the legitimate trade and appears more worried about heading off bad publicity from the upcoming Leonardo DiCaprio film, The Blood Diamond, than meeting its pledges to the international community, the campaigning group Global Witness said today.
“The diamond industry is paying little more than lip-service to the system of self-regulation, launched three years ago, which is intended to help stop diamonds from funding civil wars,” said Corinna Gilfillan of Global Witness, which has been campaigning since 1998 against the trade in diamonds from conflict zones. Profits from this trade have been used by warlords and rebel groups in Africa to fund devastating wars, while Al-Qaeda and organized crime groups have also used diamonds for money-laundering and other illicit purposes.
In response to a civil society campaign, the diamond industry launched a system of self-regulation in January 2003 to support the Kimberley Process, an international certification scheme between governments designed to keep diamonds from conflict zones out of legitimate trade. But Global Witness investigations have shown that elements of the diamond industry continue to trade in conflict and illicit diamonds, while the rest of the industry turns a blind eye. The World Diamond Council and other diamond trade bodies have not systematically monitored how the self-regulation works in practice.
“The industry claims the problem of conflict diamonds has been solved but they’ve only just launched a full educational programme, said Gilfillan. “The Blood Diamond is due to be launched around the end of this year, and it’s very hard to avoid the conclusion that the industry is moving now to try and head off bad publicity before the film is launched.”
Global Witness is calling on the diamond industry to move beyond rhetoric and ensure that the self-regulation is backed up with substantive policies and independent auditing measures. The World Diamond Council and other trade bodies should develop and promote a common standard for independent, third-party verification of the self-regulation. Governments should also increase oversight of the diamond industry’s compliance with the Kimberley Process. These recommendations should be acted upon as part of the Kimberley Process’ 3 year review to be carried out in 2006.
For more information contact:
Corinna Gilfillan + 44 (0) 7969652825
Harrison Mitchell +44 (0) 7703 108 401 +44 (0) 20 7561 6395
Alex Yearsley +44 (0) 7773 812 901
Notes for Editors:
Global Witness focuses on the links between the exploitation of natural resources and the funding of conflict and corruption. It is non-partisan in all its countries of operation. Global Witness has been co-nominated for the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize for its work in uncovering how diamonds have funded civil wars across Africa.
For more information about how diamonds have fuelled conflict and terrorism, please see Global Witness reports on this issue at: http://www.globalwitness.org/diamondreports
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 organizations and the diamond trade, in response to civil society campaigning against the trade in conflict diamonds. The diamond industry committed to implement a system of warranties and code of conduct to keep conflict diamonds out of the legitimate trade.
See Global Witness report Making it Work for more details on how segments of the diamond industry are continuing to trade in conflict and illicit diamonds at: http://www.globalwitness.org/diamondreports/miw
Press Release / June 5, 2006