New Delhi, November 26
An attempt for a new, expanded definition of conflict diamonds eluded consensus during a meeting of the Kimberley Process countries here. India is the current chair of the Kimberley Process, a multi-nation effort to prevent the sale of rough diamonds in Africa to sustain conflicts against governments.
The new definition quarterbacked by the US was to include violence by a broader set of actors, including state security forces in the definition. Many countries at the meeting held here felt that the current definition’s limited focus on rebel groups does not sufficiently protect the legitimacy of the rough diamond supply chain.
The US cited the example of its work with Central African Republic (CAR) Government and other KP members to make limited provisional modifications to the current CAR-specific KP oversight mechanism.
Under these modifications, the CAR Government can now export rough diamonds from eight KP-compliant zones from its western region at will. The exports will be subject to quarterly reviews by the KP CAR monitoring team. In addition, importers must notify the monitoring team when they receive rough diamonds from CAR. Due to lack of government control and widespread rebel activity in the east, KP-compliant exports from eastern CAR are not possible.
But other countries did not agree with the proposal, suspecting it to be an attempt to tie down governments. Conflict diamonds made famous in movie “Blood Diamonds” are mainly excavated in Angola, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon.
The existing KP Certification Scheme places several conditions on its members before shipments of rough diamonds are certified as “conflict-free” while the absence of a certificate means the diamonds are prevented from entering legitimate trade. The KP was set in place in 2003 and since then has been able to reduce the number of “conflict diamonds” from entering the market. — TNS
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