Scheme to Stop Conflict Diamond Sales Does Not Work – Report

Cape Town – The international scheme to prevent the sale of diamonds from financing violence and war has “become increasingly dysfunctional and has lost credibility”, says Human Rights Watch.

In sy latest report, which assesses how well the international jewelery industry is doing in promoting respect for human rights, the group says the Kimberley Process certification scheme uses a narrow definition of ‘conflict diamonds’.

The scheme, endorsed by the United Nations, includes governments and involved the mining industry and civil society when it was negotiated. It is named after the South African city that is best associated with diamonds.

The definition used “focuses only on rough diamonds sold by rebel groups seeking to overthrow a legitimate government,” says Human Rights Watch, “to ignore a wide range of human rights issues related to state actors or private security enterprises.”

The group argues that the process and a second, associated system, fail to ensure robust human rights compliance.

‘As a result of this glaring void, a diamond certified according to the Kimberley Process may still be contaminated by abuse. This happened in the case of diamonds from Zimbabwe and Angola. These diamonds are still KP certified and reach the global diamond market. ‘

“In addition, the Kimberley Process only applies to uncut diamonds, whereby stones that have been completely or partially cut and polished may fall outside the scope of the initiative.” The HRW report added that efforts to broaden the definition of conflict diamonds , was resisted by countries such as Angola and India.

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