Nobody wants to knowingly buy a blood diamond.But because the systems put in place to monitor the mining, and trafficking of diamonds are not totally effective, some countries are still able to trade blood diamonds.
So what exactly is a blood diamond? Global Witness, the organisation that first highlighted the problem to the world defines them as:
“Diamonds that are used to fuel violent conflict and human rights abuses.
They have funded brutal conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo and Cote d’Ivoire that have resulted in the death and displacement of millions of people.
Diamonds have also been used by terrorist groups such as Al-Qaeda to finance their activities and for money-laundering purposes.”
The Kimberley Process was set up in 2003 to make sure governments certify that shipments of rough diamonds are not fueling brutal conflicts. Governments are meant to put in place controls ensuring that diamonds that have, do not enter the supply chain.
In 2010, 75 governments took part in the scheme.
Ivory Coast was once a very stable and prosperous country in West Africa. It didn't have a history of civil wars like other countries in the region. However, in 2002, there was a rebellion which ultimately led to the country being split in two. The government retained control over the south and the north was rebel held. The country is divided even today.
Extortion, robbery, harassment, and civilian intimidation is rife. It is when looking at what could finance such a conflict, that diamonds come to the forefront. In 2005, Global Witness reported that diamonds mined in the north were being smuggled into neighbouring countries and then reached the international market.
In 2005, an embargo was made against the country and there was a ban on diamond exports. But in 2010, investigations found that these diamonds are still finding their way out of the country and into the international market.
In recent years most of the diamonds produced in Venezuela have been smuggled out. The country has no interest in legitimate channels of export via the Kimberley Process and voluntarily left it in 2008.
Although the government claims that it doesn't export or import rough diamonds, there is a lot of evidence to suggest mining is still taking place and that diamonds are smuggled out across its borders to other countries who do adhere to the Kimberley Process, therefore negating the effect.
The situation in Zimbabwe is so difficult that many people believe it threatens to undermine the Kimberley Process as a credible system. The main areas causing such controversy are the Marange Diamond fields which contains the most significant find of diamonds the world has seen for many years. Deposited 1.1bn years ago, they were found to cover an area of 26 km when they were discovered five years ago.
People living there have been exposed to brutal treatment by state authorities as they try to control the diamonds there. Although the Kimberley Process banned the export of diamonds from these fields in 2009, it recommended that the country be allowed to sell its diamonds again as conflict-free in June 2010. And more recently, despite worldwide criticism and evidence that the country is in no way complying with the Kimberley Process, it is seemingly allowing trade to continue.
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