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Human Rights – They are marketed as every woman’s best friend, but for some time now diamonds have been one of the most controversial items to dominate the international economy. The debate over links between diamonds and conflict will only grow after Global Witness, an international NGO and key observer of trade in diamonds, has announced its intention to withdraw from the Kimberley process (KP).
KP was established in 2003 as a way of monitoring and certifying diamonds, attempting to reduce (and eventually eliminate) trade in “blood diamonds” – diamonds extracted from conflict zones. Global Witness is arguing that the KP process has been made redundant by a lack of political will and an obvious unwillingness in the industry to change its practices.
The founding director of Global Witness, Charmian Gooch, stated that “the scheme has failed three tests: it failed to deal with the trade in conflict diamonds from Ivory Coast, was unwilling to take serious action in the face of blatant breaches of the rules over a number of years by Venezuela, and has proved unwilling to stop diamonds fuelling corruption and violence in Zimbabwe.”
What this means for the future of the diamond trade isn’t clear, but it will likely place more pressure on NGOs and consumers to hold the industry accountable. So Leonardo DiCaprio need not despair quite yet. But the decision taken by Global Witness signals a backslide on international diamond policy and raises a lot of questions about the best way to move forward.
If nothing else, it might give generous gift-givers something to think about as they walk into the jewelry store.
Read more at The Guardian.
Compiled by Laura Clarke