The Kimberley Process
As consumers, we have been told not to be concerned about conflict diamonds that it they are under control and the Kimberley Process is in place to protect all of us. We are here to tell you that the Kimberley Process has failed us. Moreover, it has and given the conflict diamond industry something to hide behind, yet another marketing pitch the industry sold and consumers have bought into.
The Kimberley Process is a great idea in theory, but it has been proven over and over again that it just doesn’t work. Nearly 12 years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds originate or whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes in blighted communities.
What is the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)?
The Kimberley Process is a rough diamond certification scheme, established in 2003, in an effort to end the trade of conflict diamonds. All rough diamonds are only to be traded between member countries and be accompanied by a government issued Kimberley Process certificate.
Aren’t all diamonds guaranteed conflict-free because of the Kimberley Process?
No. In theory the Kimberley Process would be a great idea for addressing the ethical impact surrounding conflict diamonds. The greatest drawback to the Kimberley Process is the lack of enforcement or regulation. Any claim that the Kimberley Process guarantees the consumer that they’re purchasing a clean diamond cannot be verified with substantial direct or indirect evidence. It has now been proven that the Kimberley Process has failed us.
“The diamond industry was "hiding behind the Kimberley Process.” - Annie Dunnebacke, the senior campaigner for Global Witness.
In 2011, Global Witness, withdrew from the Kimberley Process coalition, saying that it felt the effort no longer effectively ensured that conflict diamonds did not make their way onto retail markets. The organization is the first advocacy group to leave the program. While the organization had expressed concerns over the operation of the Kimberley Process for some time, the final straw leading to its withdrawal was the decision to allow Zimbabwe to export diamonds from the Marange fields, where there have been reports of widespread human rights abuses by government security forces.
“It’s the most egregious situation that we’ve seen since the Kimberley Process was launched, where diamonds have been fueling violence and human rights violations, and the Kimberley has really failed to deal with that effectively,” - Annie Dunnebacke, the senior campaigner for Global Witness.
The Kimberley Process Reports:
Counterfeit Kimberley Process certificates are accompanying rough diamonds from Angola, Malaysia, DRC, and Ghana.
Over the past three years, the national army has visited appalling abuses on civilians in Marange’s diamond fields in Zimbabwe. However, on August 12, 2010, The Kimberley Process (KP) certified approximately 900,000 carats of rough diamonds from Marange, Zimbabwe. Those diamonds are now on the international market that will be purchased by the unassuming diamond consumer. Click here for more information.
Global Witness Reports:
“A Unified Nations Group of Experts on Cote d’lvoire has recently found that poor controls are allowing significant volumes of blood diamonds to enter the legitimate trade through Ghana, where they are being certified as conflict free through the Kimberley Process.”
Don’t be fooled!
You might have seen a message like this when purchasing an earth-mined diamond, but please do not be fooled. The Kimberley Process has failed us and there is no such thing as a “conflict free” earth-mined diamond source.
Why the Kimberley Process is not effective
The major flaws that still hinder the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process are:
- The relative ease of smuggling diamonds across borders.
- The Kimberley Process’ narrow definition of conflict.
- The violent nature of diamond mining in nations that are not in a “technical” state of war and whose diamonds are therefore considered “clean.”
- The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme lacks of enforcement or regulation. Any claim that the Kimberley Process guarantees the consumer that they’re purchasing a clean diamond cannot be verified with substantial direct or indirect evidence.
What the Kimberley Process should be enforcing?
1. Environmental Protection and Fair Trade.
- No dumping of mine wastes into the ocean, rivers, lakes, or streams.
- Ensuring that projects are not located in protected areas, fragile ecosystems, or other areas of high conservation or ecological value.
- Ensuring that projects do not generate sulfuric acid in perpetuity.
- Covering all costs of closing down and cleaning up mine sites.
- Fully disclosing information about social and environmental effects of projects.
- Monitoring fair and ethical labor practices.
- Respect for basic human rights outlined in international conventions and law. Free, prior, and informed consent of affected communities.
- Ensuring that operations are not located in areas of armed or militarized conflict.
- Ensuring that projects do not force communities off their lands.