(Time) The Return of the Blood Diamond. (And We Don’t Mean the Movie).
Posted by Alex Perry Monday, December 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm
They say a diamond is forever. From today, and for now, that also includes blood diamonds. On Monday the respected rights and commerce watchdog Global Witness announced it was quitting the international certification scheme set up in 2003 to outlaw blood diamonds due its “refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, [and] violence and tyranny.”
Charmian Gooch, a Founding Director of Global Witness, said: “Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes.”
The scheme failed all three big tests it had been set, said Gooch. It did not tackle an alleged trade in conflict diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire. It failed to take serious action in the face of “blatant breaches of the rules” by Venezuela, which has allegedly become a smugglers’ through route for illegal and uncertified stones originating elsewhere. And it was unwilling to stop the sale of gems from Zimbabwe, whose diamonds fields Robert Mugabe’s regime violently appropriated in 2008, reportedly killing 200 people, and whose proceeds now finance the operation of the isolated authoritarian regime.
Gooch added the Kimberley Process, rather than separating out conflict stones from those mined and processed according to best practice and the law, had instead become “an accomplice to diamond laundering – whereby dirty diamonds are mixed in with clean gems.”