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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 29 July, 2014

Global Witness leaves anti-Blood Diamond group in protest

The NGO said the diamond certification scheme has failed to prevent the processing of conflict diamonds in Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Miners dig for diamonds in Marange, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006
Miners dig for diamonds in Marange, Zimbabwe, Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2006
Image: TSVANGIRAYI MUKWAZHI/AP/Press Association Images

INTERNATIONAL NGO Global Witness has pulled out of a coalition of organisations working to block the sale of blood diamonds – saying that the process was no longer effective.

Global Witness said it was leaving the Kimberly Process (KP) as its diamond certification scheme had failed in Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe and Venezuela.

Global Witness founding director Charmian Gooch said the scheme had become “increasingly outdated” and that – despite the intensive efforts over many years by a coalition of NGOs – the KP had refused to “evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny”.

“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” said  Gooch.

He said that the KP had failed:

  • To deal with the trade in conflict diamonds from Ivory Coast
  • To take action against rule breaches by Venezuela
  • To stop diamonds fuelling corruption and violence in Zimbabwe

Global Witness also said the scheme had become an accomplice to diamond laundering – which sees dirty diamonds mixed in with clean gems.

More than 70 countries have signed the KP agreement in a move to safeguard against the sale of rough diamonds. Currently, stones are only classed as “conflict diamonds” when they are the product of rebel-fuelled conflict – but not if a country’s government is involved in their production, reports the New York Times.

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