Conflict diamonds are diamonds that originate from areas controlled by forces or factions opposed to legitimate and internationally recognized governments, and are used to fund military action in opposition to those governments, or in contravention of the decisions of the United Nations Security Council. To learn more visit Conflict Diamonds: What Are Conflict Diamonds.
Conflict diamonds came to the attention of the world's media in the late 1990s during the extremely brutal conflict in Sierra Leone. Conflicts have occurred in some of the poorest parts of Africa for many decades. In recent times these conflicts have often focused on rebels controlling their country's natural resources, for example oil, wood, minerals and diamonds. Often rebels will trade these assets for arms and influence. Some rebel groups sold diamonds to generate funds for buying their arms – these diamonds are known as conflict diamonds. To learn more visit Conflict Diamonds: Background.
In 2000 the industry recognized the need for a process to be put in place that ensured diamonds were not used to fund rebel activity and alongside governments and NGOs helped create the Kimberley Process. By 2002, 52 governments had ratified and adopted the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. Today 74 governments, plus NGOs and the diamond industry are all committed and legally bound to the UN mandated process. In 2000, the global diamond industry announced its 'zero tolerance' policy towards conflict diamonds and declared it would not trade with any business whose diamonds were not compliant with the Kimberley Process. In the same year, the World Diamond Council (WDC) was created specifically to address the issue of conflict diamonds on behalf of the entire diamond industry. The World Diamond Council and its members initiated a system of assurance to all its purchasers up to and including jewellery retailers that the diamonds being sold are from conflict free sources. This involves a written statement on all invoices declaring that the diamonds are from conflict free sources. This is referred to as the 'System of Warranties'. To learn more visit Conflict Diamonds: Eliminating Conflict Diamonds.
The Kimberley Process is a certification system that prevents conflict diamonds from entering the legitimate diamond supply chain. The Kimberley Process ensures that only rough diamonds accompanied by a government-issued certificate can be imported and exported, providing an assurance that the diamonds are from sources free from conflict. Under this, United Nations backed, system, only the 69 countries (as of July 2006) that are part of the Kimberley Process can import or export rough diamonds. Anyone who trades in rough diamonds without a Kimberley Process certificate in these countries is breaking the law. To learn more visit Conflict Diamonds: Eliminating Conflict Diamonds.
Today, significantly more than 99% of global diamond production is covered by the Kimberley Process. This means that more than 99% of rough diamonds have been certified to be from conflict free sources. To learn more visit Conflict Diamonds: Eliminating Conflict Diamonds.
It is a minimum requirement of participation in the Kimberley Process that countries enact legislation enforcing the Kimberley Process. 74 countries (as of November 2007) have passed such national laws which prohibit the trade in conflict diamonds. Penalties differ from country to country, but anyone in these countries trading in rough diamonds that are not covered by a Kimberley Process certificate is committing a criminal act. View a map of Kimberley Process participants.
To find out if your country is part of the Kimberley Process and for a full up to date list of Kimberley Process participant countries, please click here.
The diamond industry brings real benefit to people and communities around the world. In particular, Africans are creating wealth for themselves through diamonds. The diamond trade contributes approximately US $8.5 billion a year to Africa and is helping to transform the lives of its people in four key ways:
* Financial: Diamonds provide a significant economic contribution to the countries in which they are found – for example diamonds represent 33% of the GDP of Botswana [approximately $3.3 billion]
* Health: Diamonds play a significant role in helping tackle the HIV pandemic in southern Africa through the funding of counselling, testing, education, treatment programmes, clinics and hospices
* Education: Southern African countries are using revenue from diamonds to help more children go to school for longer
* Employment: More than 38,000 people in southern Africa are employed by the diamond industry. To learn more visit Making A Difference: Introduction
There is only one diamond producing country defined by the United Nations (UN) as being in a state of conflict and this is Ivory Coast. The Government of Ivory Coast, a minor diamond producer, has suspended all official exports of rough diamonds to help its efforts to restore social stability.
Diamonds on their own cannot bring peace and democracy. But diamonds can provide a vital source of income that enables a country emerging from conflict to fund reconstruction and to build the institutions and infrastructure that can help maintain the peace. To learn more visit Making A Difference: Introduction
If you are concerned about where your diamond has come from you can:
* Use this website to learn more about conflict diamonds and the measures in place that protect the legitimate trade in diamonds (www.diamondfacts.org)
* Buy from a reputable jeweler
* Ask your retailer for a reassurance that the diamond you are purchasing is from conflict free sources. To learn more visit Buy With Confidence