Blood Diamonds: A Never Solved African Drama

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Easily concealed, immensely treasured and largely untraceable, stones from revolt-held mines have raised billions of greenbacks on global markets to finance insurgencies in several african countries in opposition to the valid governments.

The United Nations defines war diamonds as ‘diamonds that originate from regions managed via forces or factions opposed to legitimate and across the world recognized governments, and are used to fund navy motion in competition to those governments, or in contravention of the choices of the Security Council’. These diamonds are also referred to as ‘blood diamonds’.

For years these illegal marketplace has allowed rebellion leaders to arm and equip their armies in violation of UN guns and economic sanctions. Rebel armies in Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of the Congo exploited the alluvial diamond fields of these countries so that you can finance wars of insurgency. Alluvial diamonds, in contrast to those mined inside the deep kimberlite ‘pipes’ of Botswana, Russia and Canada, are located over huge areas of territory, often only some inches or feet under the floor of the earth. Alluvial diamonds have proven difficult to manipulate and to modify. Because in their excessive weight-to-price ratio, the convenience with which they can be mined, and endemic corruption in the worldwide diamond market, alluvial diamonds became a equipped goal for rebellion armies.

The exchange in war diamonds started out in the early Nineties with Jonas Savimbi’s National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, but turned into quick copied by means of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone, with assistance from Liberia’s warlord president, Charles Taylor, who’s now being tried in The Hague for battle crimes and has lately showed up in western newspaper for having allegedly talented top-version Naomi Campbell with a few illicit stones.

Even if the diamonds industries used to inscribe the trade of war diamonds in an positive 4% determine, NGOs concerned within the fight against this change like Partnership Africa Canada stated that as a lot as 15% of the world’s $10 billion annual hard diamond production fell into the class of war diamonds inside the past due Nineties.

A most crucial change region for South Africa

Today diamonds are mined in approximately 25 international locations but kind of 49% of diamond engagement ring price originate from central and southern Africa, at the same time as extensive resources of the mineral were observed in Canada, India, Russia, Brazil and Australia. South Africa is the fourth diamond manufacturer us of a inside the global by means of cost.

The story of diamonds in South Africa starts in 1866, when 15-yr-old Erasmus Jacobs found a transparent stone on his father’s farm, at the south bank of the Orange River and Kimberley, the existing capital of Northern Cape, have become ground-zero for the South African diamond enterprise.

The biggest corporation to perform a diamond mine in South Africa throughout the diamond rush turned into the De Beers Company, based by using Cecil Rhodes. The De Beers empire become started out on a farm owned via two Boer War settlers, brothers D. A. And J. N. De Beer. Around 1873 the De Beer brothers sold out to a set of mining syndicates who later merged with Cecil Rhodes’ pumping corporation to form ‘De Beers Consolidated Mines’.

Today De Beers by myself mines about 1/2 the arena’s annual diamond output. It also controls as a great deal as 80% of global diamond income via its Central Selling Organization, which purchases and stockpiles diamonds from other providers to hold availability low and expenses excessive. De Beers became acknowledged to be a first-rate client of warfare diamonds from Angola, Sierra Leone and other African war zones.

Through the years, Kimberly misplaced its relevance inside the production of diamonds, however continues to be the De Beers’ headquarter and the start factor of the movement which concerned the important diamond groups and changed into aimed to put an give up to the trade of battle diamonds.

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme

Since 1998, UN’s Security Council has established a decided marketing campaign to halt the alternate in war diamonds, launching investigations into the illicit change in uncut diamonds, naming individuals and nations suspected of trafficking in the stones and pressuring the secretive diamond enterprise to undertake measures to hold the gems out of the worldwide marketplace.

Against a widening debate approximately the humanitarian and economic impact of complete alternate sanctions on civilians and neighbouring states, the Council’s diamond marketing campaign changed into part of an ongoing UN attempt to make sanctions more selective, better targeted and extra fastidiously enforced units for the renovation of global peace and protection.

It is extremely tough to distinguish one uncut diamond from any other, making it easy to mix illicit diamonds with legal stones. Moreover, the foremost world market for uncut diamonds, Antwerp, is known for the laxity of its rules at the handling of the stones. According to a look at on diamonds and battle in Sierra Leone via Partnership Africa Canada, Antwerp sellers automatically settle multi-million greenback transactions in cash and seldom provide receipts.

Since the South African main cartel De Beers had correctly resisted boycott pressures from anti-apartheid activists in the Seventies and Nineteen Eighties, there appeared little cause to consider that the UN would be extra a hit.

In evaluation to previous efforts, but, there was developing consumer consciousness of the link between diamonds and African conflicts within the US and Europe, wherein the overwhelming majority of diamond jewellery is bought. NGOs, which include Partnership Africa Canada and Global Witness, had started to campaign towards blood diamonds in industrialized countries. Graphic press reviews tying diamonds to the brutal insurgency in Sierra Leone started to appear in fashion magazines, threatening the industry’s expensively nurtured photograph in its middle consumer base.

The enterprise wanted to keep away from backlashes together with the ones towards the fur industry inside the Nineties and was extra receptive, therefore, to Security Council requires a international monitoring device for uncut diamonds that might discover the origins of the stones, verify their criminal export from the usa of origin and establish a paper trail of ownership. Addressing enterprise leaders at the World Diamond Congress in Antwerp on 18 July 2000, UN Ambassador Robert Fowler emphasized that the Council was eager to keep away from damaging the valid diamond exchange however ‘the diamond industry ought to take the lead, and be seen to be taking the lead, in demonstrating publicly that its products are struggle-free’.

On the next day the two primary industry institutions, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, followed a joint notion to establish a global certification programme for uncut diamonds. They declared that ‘the solution to the battle diamonds problem is a ethical imperative particularly others’.

In 2002, the UN accredited the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) aimed at stopping battle diamonds from entering the legitimate difficult diamond marketplace. Yet essential diamond-producing international locations remain involved about the effect of the war diamond marketing campaign at the legitimate exchange.

Former South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Affairs Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka failed to attend a assembly in London in October 2002 to talk about UK proposals for an global treaty on diamond income. The motive for her absence, South African UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo advised the UN fee Africa Recovery in early December the identical 12 months, changed into that ‘the London convention become known as to discuss a proper treaty’ on battle diamonds.

‘If you go the [UN] treaty course you open it up to 189 nations, maximum of whom don’t have anything at stake.’ For South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Angola, he endured, ‘the diamond industry is our lifeline. Many thousands of people are affected. So it’s miles important for us to shield the industry as such’.

How effective the Kimberly regulations has been in maintaining battle diamonds off the arms of consumers is also a topic of debate. Ambassador Fowler informed Africa Recovery that, even as no controls may be one hundred% powerful in blocking off gadgets as small and as precious as gem stones, they might assist. The marketing campaign, he asserted, has already harm the rebels. ‘The investors recognise we’re looking, and people who still purchase are traumatic a higher danger premium.’

On the other hand, Mr Jakkie Cilliers, head of the South African Institute of Strategic Studies, advised the media that the real trouble is hands, not diamonds. ‘If the major powers were critical approximately finishing African conflicts they would halt the change in hands. But the principal powers produce fingers, so that they pass after diamonds alternatively. They have a struggle of hobby.’

Failure or achievement?

After the implementation of the Kimberley Scheme, the trade of war diamonds has swollen to less than 1% of the entire market. ‘Through the global implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme – said in a announcement Ambassador J.D. Bindenagel, Former U.S. Special Negotiator for Conflict Diamonds – we have started to fulfil the international community’s responsibility to those who’ve suffered in Africa’s wars with the aid of banning the trade in struggle diamonds. We have eliminated battle diamond financing in Sierra Leone and are committed to bring the proceeds from the diamond exchange to benefit the people of Sierra Leone, Angola and Liberia as well as all other diamond producing countries consisting of Botswana to help themselves aid monetary development of their countries.’

Sierra Leone, which exported less than $2 million worth of diamonds legally in 2000, now exports among $one hundred and $150 million yearly, earning the concomitant tax sales (PAC Annual Review 2009). There were comparable high quality adjustments in other nations.

But the Kimberley Process is a regulatory machine and isn’t designed to cope with a number of the fundamental underlying issues of diamonds which might be mined artisanally in big components of Africa and South America. The peer overview machine is fairly established upon the everyday participation of a few countries. The two NGO KP contributors, Partnership Africa Canada and Global Witness, bore the disproportionate cost of financing a civil society team member on each evaluate till 2007, when a Civil Society Fund became created to assist alleviate this responsibility.Worse, whilst faced with overt examples of apparent and extreme non-compliance in Brazil, Guyana, Ghana, Venezuela and elsewhere, the Kimberley Process seemed to have grow to be paralysed.

In a speech on the outlet day of the November 2006 KP Plenary in Botswana, PAC Research Coordinator, Ian Smillie, expressed his extreme judgement. ‘We meet at a second of incredible significance for the Kimberley Process, the diamond enterprise, and the people whose lives depend no longer just on a rich diamond enterprise, however one that cannot be used to threaten peace (…) we’ve got visible an increasing number of examples of ways criminals and diamond sellers and smugglers and even governments had been capable of bypass, subvert and ignore the KPCS with almost complete impunity.’

Greg Campbell, an award prevailing journalist and author of Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Deadly Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones, the book who stimulated the Oscar nominated film with Leonardo Di Caprio, offers his certified opinion in his blog: ‘It’s real that diamonds from Sierra Leone, the subject of my e book, now not want to be avoided. There hasn’t been battle within the country for nearly a decade. To various tiers, the identical is genuine in diamond-wealthy Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo, although the latter has extra ill-gotten precious sources than simply diamonds to issue clients.’

But the fact is extra complicated. As Campebell factors out, ‘none aside from the KP itself has used the very term “battle diamond” to cover up atrocities devoted in the mining regions in any other African us of a, the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe’. There, civilians had been murdered, assaulted and threatened into mining diamonds for its corrupt army, but ‘diamonds mined by using a ruling authorities, irrespective of how brutally, don’t match the KP’s slender definition of “battle diamonds,” which specifies that handiest stones produced on behalf of a rebellion or guerrilla motion so that you can fund an overthrow qualify for the time period’.

Africa’s blood diamonds producers

Angola. After the blood diamonds financed the rise up forces for years, now the u . S . Is attempting to put in force new regulations for the artisanal diamond production. But the new regulation does little to enhance Angola’s Kimberley Process compliance. It outlines no concrete approaches for tracking artisanal production, and no mechanisms for collating, analysing or publishing facts on artisanal trade and manufacturing. Angolan officers say, however, that the authorities takes its KP obligations critically, and plans to tighten things up all through implementation.

Democratic Republic of Congo. Diamonds are present in the course of plenty of the Congo’s struggle region, each in Orientale province on the border with Uganda, and in the provinces of North and South Kivu. The quantity of diamonds that come into insurrection possession is probably pretty low, but they are, however, warfare diamonds. While the extent of diamonds falling into riot hands appears currently to be pretty low, there’s nothing within the DRC device that could save you any rebellion institution from laundering their diamonds into the ‘certified’ KP diamond move.

Sierra Leone. The united states’s mining nonetheless wishes powerful rules and diamonds are yet to advantage the local population. Even earlier than the economic disaster, the united states of america granted brilliant concessions to mining businesses, with tax agreements that ended in minuscule government revenues, simply 5-6% of the cost of mineral exports. A National Advocacy Coalition on Extractives have a look at files ‘huge issues’ related to governance: lack of transparency, capacity, monitoring mechanisms inside the mining sector, gaps in law, and the superiority of corruption.

Republic of Congo. The only united states ever expelled from the Kimberley Process for motives of serious non-compliance. A KP assessment group visited the Republic in 2004 and there has been little evidence to aid the export volumes, and there were no reputable imports. In fact, diamonds had been flowing with impunity throughout the river from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and were no doubt assisting to preserve conflicts in each international locations. Readmitted in 2007, there may be oddly no statistics available to the public or to KP members about the Republic of Congo at the KP website.

Zimbabwe. In 2009, Partnership Africa Canada posted an research of the country’s diamond scene, Zimbabwe, Diamonds and the Wrong Side of History. It described growing proof of smuggling, the militarization of diamond assets and the killing of at least dozens of unarmed diamond diggers by way of the police and military. It stays to be seen whether the KP could have the power and the desire required to impose effective measures to be able to bring Zimbabwe into compliance with KP minimum requirements and the observance of fundamental human rights in its diamond enterprise.

Guinea. Diamond regions are almost 1000 kilometres from the capital, Conakry, and government control and reporting mechanisms are understaffed and under-prepared. Systems exist, however there are most important gaps, and in reality there may be actually no manner of tracing artisanally produced diamonds that show up at Conakry for export. In the closing four years there was a rash of false Guinean KP certificate showing up in numerous countries and little or no statistics has become available approximately what the brand new government is doing to enhance matters.

Ghana. The diamond mining region continues to be reeling from the knock-on consequences of brief Kimberley Process sanctions imposed in 2007 due to the alleged incursion of struggle diamonds from Côte d’Ivoire. In spite of the gloomy situation, however, administrative measures instituted in 2008 to bolster Ghana’s inner controls in accordance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme made good sized progress.

Liberia. Over the beyond yr, Liberia has made full-size progress in its internal diamond manage systems. Commendably, the authorities has invited additional civil society contributors to take a seat on its Presidential Diamond Task Force that’s just like the Diamond Board advocated by using the KP Review Visit which passed off in May 2009. However, a few overseas exploration businesses are without a doubt mining diamonds. The hazard posed by this hobby is large. Government and communities lose sales, and the exercise creates a breeding ground for diamond smuggling, due to the fact only mining license holders can technique the KP gadget for valuation and certification.

Côte d’Ivoire. Officially, this remains the handiest us of a where the struggle diamond phenomenon keeps to exist. Despite a 2005 UN embargo, illicit Ivoirian diamonds keep to circulate the formal alternate. Continued diamond mining through insurrection forces turned into reconfirmed in 2008 by means of a joint venture of experts from the United Nations and the Kimberley Process. A 12 months later, satellite pics supplied by using the expert group shows that diamond mining seems to have had a fast growth in a few regions. Although the fee of contraband Ivoirian diamonds is presently expected at US$25 million yearly, it may develop if no measures are taken to treatment the problem.

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