Global diamond certification system ‘failing’, warns Canadian NGO

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Global diamond certification system ‘failing’, warns Canadian NGO

The leading international certification system for diamonds is failing to prevent billions of dollars of conflict diamonds and dirty gems from entering the mainstream jewellery market, claims a new report.

The report from the Canadian NGO Partnership Africa Canada says the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) has failed to stop rough diamonds mined by rebel groups or stolen from mines.

“The Kimberley Process is failing in its core mandate to eliminate conflict diamonds from the global supply,” says the report, “Flaws and Loopholes”.

It says these “flawed” and “dysfunctional” diamonds, known as “blood diamonds” or “conflict diamonds”, continue to fund human rights abuses, violence and corruption in Africa’s diamond producing regions.

The Kimberley Process was set up in 2003 to establish a global certification standard for rough diamonds. It aims to exclude conflict diamonds from legitimate diamond markets.

But the report claims the KPCS has “glaring loopholes” that can be exploited by diamond smugglers and that conflict diamonds continue to enter the market and eventually reach consumers unwittingly.

It calls on the diamond industry and negotiating countries to urgently strengthen the KPCS by implementing additional review processes, improving transparency and ensuring independent audits of member countries’ compliance with the certification scheme.

Without these changes, the report warns that conflict diamonds will continue to fund violence, instability and human rights abuses in producer countries, and undermine the viability of the legitimate diamond industry.

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