Civil Society Pulls in Support in Re-defining Conflict Diamonds

Civil Society Pulls in Support in Re-defining Conflict Diamonds
Image Credit: New York Times

Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition (KP CSC) has revealed its support to Canada on a proposal for a new definition of Conflict Diamonds that captures important concerns such as systematic and widespread violence, and illicit financing of private and public security forces.

The coalition says it believes that the adoption of the proposal is a logical step in rejuvenating the Kimberly Process sand adapting it to the requirements of a changing environment.

“Time has now come for all participants and observers to walk the talk in order to avoid the Kimberley Process from becoming irrelevant and incredible in a world where responsible sourcing is ever more the order of the day”, Chair of the KP CSC, Shamiso Mtisi said.

“Participating states must take their shared responsibility in answering the call from the UN General Assembly, in a Resolution of 7 March 2018, to strengthen the KP to better face challenges of instability and conflict and contribute to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.”

The re-definition of Conflict diamonds comes after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a consensus resolution aimed at aligning the Kimberly Process with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The Kimberly Process has been focused on breaking links between diamond trade and conflict, as the gems were used to sponsor instability.

“Fifteen years ago […] the global diamond trade looked very different than that of today,” Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, during the UNGA resolution. “At that time, diamonds were mined in conflict zones, while at the other end of the supply chain, customers had little or no way to know where the diamonds had originated.”

“The Kimberley Process cut the flow of diamonds to insurgencies and rebel groups, who would sacrifice peace and development for their own power.”

“By safeguarding the legitimate diamond trade, it improved the livelihoods of those relying on it to feed and educate their families,” Bishop went on.

The Kimberly Process once resulted in the suspension of diamond exports from Marange in June 2009 as the country’s security forces were accused of abuses in the minefield.

The southern African country was then allowed to export the gems in November 2011 despite disagreements from western countries.

“We have taken positions that we have because we want to see the Marange diamond fields benefiting all Zimbabweans, but we recognize that this issue has been a stalemate for some time in the KP and we came to the decision that although we could not support the agreement, we believe the Kimberley Process needs to move past the stalemate,” United States of America State Department Special Adviser for Conflict Diamonds Brad Brooks-Rubin said after Zimbabwe was allowed to export diamonds.

Although Zimbabwe was given a go-ahead to mine diamonds, US$15 billion revenue disappeared from the diamonds mined in Marange.

“This plenary, with its focus on reform, provides the stage for Participants to express their commitment to guarantee consumers that the diamonds they produce or trade are not stained with blood,” Mtisi said.

“The KP Civil Society Coalition, representing thousands in mining-affected communities, calls on them to seize this moment to prove the Kimberley Process is fit for purpose.”

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