Press release from the civil society coalition of the kimberley process

Contemporary blood diamonds are still circulating and the KP is undermining efforts to stem them, according to a new report

With less than two months to go before the end of the Kimberley Process reform, the Civil Society Observer questions whether states will continue to give free rein to the “Blood Diamond” market.

A new report, Real Care is Rare. An On-The-Ground Perspective on Blood Diamonds and the Fifth ‘C’, exposes the existence of contemporary blood diamonds caused by the continuing links between diamonds and brutal human rights abuses (just one of many ethical issues) in some mines on the African continent and beyond.

The report published by the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition points out that the KP only intervenes where rough diamonds are mined by rebels to finance wars against governments. This means that diamonds characterized by other types of violence or conflict end up on the global market with ‘non-conflict’ certification. “Many people have been aware of this problem for years, but the KP continues to drag its feet in expanding its reach to solve it,” says KP Civil Society Coalition spokesperson Shamiso Mtisi.

Cases highlighted in the report include failure to intervene where armed groups are mining diamonds without fighting a government; illegal military involvement in the diamond trade; and acts of torture and murder against artisanal miners to depopulate diamond fields or secure industrial concessions – acts that continue to this day. The report also highlights issues of environmental damage caused by industrial mining.

The report expresses growing concern about commercial dynamics that ensure a continuation of the above abuses despite industrial programs put in place to prevent them, in order to create a secondary market offering cheaper, unethical diamonds. The KP Civil Society Coalition reports that, while some states seem to assume that hindering KP reform protects their commercial interests, many experienced industry players understand the risk to the entire diamond sector if the KP fails to modernize. Market research shows the emergence of a new generation of consumers who are more socially aware than ever. For these consumers, the fact that major abuses persist, while a forum such as the KP claims to unify players in order to protect communities, raises questions of credibility both for the KP and for the diamond industry as a whole.

The report points out that this new wave of conscious consumers continues to find testimonials and photographic evidence representing the grim realities of diamond-related abuse circulating publicly. The report underlines the significant implications this has for the diamond brand image, and that this threat can only be addressed through international cooperation. The need for targeted interventions by the KP to make this achievable in practice, and without damaging other stakeholders in the diamond sector, is highlighted.

The final opportunity to address these issues will be in November 2019, when KP delegates meet in New Delhi. Filip Reyniers of IPIS, one of the members of the KP civil society coalition, participated in recent talks and says: “The KP still seems to be struggling to find a consensus. Despite a major cry of alarm from civil society and even the industry, some government representatives are asking for evidence of the need to redefine what a conflict diamond is. This new report should remove all their doubts.

Further information: Shamiso Mtisi, Coordinator of the KP Civil Society Coalition (ZELA) +263 7 742 169 56 Filip Reyniers, IPIS +32 498 23 11 59

Download the full report:

*The Kimberley Process is an international mechanism designed to prevent the flow of diamonds onto the global market via the implementation of an import/export certification regime.

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