The Greener Diamond believes in progress – however, with progress comes responsibility. The CAR is well-known for its human rights violations surrounding the mining of their largest export, ‘blood’ diamonds. While we know that allowing the CAR to participate in the Kimberley Process will greatly help their economy, we can’t help but wonder how many lives will be hurt in the process and how many of the diamonds they will be exporting are truly ‘clean’ from any conflict. Our best guess – Zero. You see, the Kimberley Process has failed us – There are many “loopholes” and reasons why the KPCS has failed, but the main problem is that the definition of a ‘conflict-diamond’ is too narrow.
The conflict diamond definition, as per the KPCS, is a:
“Rough diamond mined in an area controlled by insurgent forces whose sale is used to finance anti-government military action”.
This means that the diamonds mined, for example, in Zimbabwe which is notorious for killing, raping and maiming hundreds of artisanal miners are considered “conflict-free” under the KPCS. This is because, despite being mined under horrific conditions, they did not fund armed forces. These “dirty diamonds” are being certified by the Kimberley Process, making them “clean” and then sold to unassuming diamond consumers who think they are purchasing “conflict-free” stones.
We can only hope that consumers will continue to push for ethically sourced products, researching companies and their moral messages. Just because a diamond has been certified by the Kimberley Process does not mean lives were not damaged as they travelled from mine to market.
Please read on to learn more about this KP update….
By Frank Kane, www.thenational.ae
The African country, rich in diamonds but bedevilled by civil strife, has been unable to export the stones since 2013 due to concerns about security.
After a day-long series of meetings chaired by Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman for 2016 of the global diamond regulator the Kimberley Process, an agreement was struck between the CAR’s minister for mines, Joseph Agbo, and Viken Arslanian, an executive of Sodiam, the CAR’s main diamond miner.
Mr Bin Sulayem is also executive chairman of the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre free zone.
He said: “The effective resumption of exports from CAR was one of the main priorities of the KP chairmanship 2016 and I am particularly proud that we have been able to break the deadlock that has obstructed effective exports for so long.”
Before CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, ceased diamond exports, trade in the stones accounted for 40 per cent of its exports and provided a living for at least 1 million of its 4m population.
Although stones have been mined, mainly at the country’s Berberati mine, by Sodiam since then, it has been impossible to export them under the rules of the KP banning trade in “conflict diamonds”.
Parts of the country have suffered violence in sectarian clashes between Christians and Muslims.
But following national elections, president Faustin-Archange Touadera will take office next month in a significantly improved security environment.
Following United Nations’ reports that the security situation in CAR was improving, KP officials last year recommended a resumption of diamond exports, but administrative wrangles held up the process.
Sodiam said it might be forced to close down operations in CAR in view of the uncertainties around future exports.
Resumption of diamond exports in the CAR will be a boost for its impoverished economy. A visit by KP officials earlier this month found that living conditions in Berbarati were a “matter of enormous concern and require an immediate solution”.
The officials also found that the area around the town were under “appropriate and sufficient” government control.
The deal on Thursday represents a second significant success for the UAE’s KP chairmanship. Last month, Mr Bin Sulayem was able to announce plans to readmit Venezuela to the KP process, after an eight-year absence, were under way.